May 19, 2013
Five Bottles and a Hiccup
The back section of the Stone Bank has been completely dismantled and work to excavate the foundation has begun … and then we paused.
Here are some pictures of the work in progress followed by a story published in the Bottineau Courant with details about our construction hiccup.
From the Bottineau Courant:
Stone Bank Getting a Firm Foundation
Five old bottles and a construction hiccup surfaced at the Stone Bank Project on Bottineau’s Main Street last week when Joe Whetter finished dismantling the back of the structure and began to excavate the foundation.
“The hard part is over,” said Whetter, the project’s stone mason, after taking down stones weighing as much as 500 pounds from the building’s north wall.
As he began to scrape away the earth in what had been a crawl space under the back of the building, he found several early-1900s bottles embedded in the old crawl space. And then he found the hiccup.
Instead of a solid foundation wall on the Family Vision building next door, he ran into crumbling earth.
After some probing, he found that Family Vision’s foundation didn’t extend the full width of the building. About 50 feet back from Main Street, Family Vision’s foundation narrows, and the building sits atop a concrete platform that is cantilevered off the narrower foundation.
“I’ve seen it before, and it’s not a big problem as long as we get at it right away,” Whetter said.
After conferring with Paul Dunderland of Family Vision, Whetter and architect Bobbi Hepper-Olson arrived at a plan.
Whetter will place four concrete footings at a depth of about 5 feet under Family Vision’s floating foundation in the midsection of the building. He will then build four steel-reinforced concrete columns on the footings to support the middle section of the building.
With “40 feet or more of rebar” inside each of the concrete columns, Whetter said Family Vision’s foundation will be supported. Then he will continue work on putting a foundation under the back of the Stone Bank. When the Stone Bank’s basement wall is up, Whetter will pour flowable fill between the outside of the Stone Bank’s foundation and the concrete columns supporting Family Vision’s foundation.
“There are always surprises when you work on old buildings,” said Hepper-Olson, who visited the Stone Bank on May 3 in preparation for drawing final plans for reconstruction of the building’s back 20 feet. “This is a manageable surprise. I’ve seen things like this before.”
Whetter planned to place the two center columns on Saturday and will “let them strengthen up a bit” before placing the other two footings and columns. Once the work to undergird the Family Vision building is complete, excavation of a basement for the back of the Stone Bank can begin.
“We want to be good neighbors and not only do right by the Stone Bank but do right by the Family Vision building,” said Sharon Kessler, the president of Touchstones, the nonprofit group restoring the old bank building.
“I was reassured by our architect and Joe that this isn’t a huge problem,” Kessler said. “When Paul Dunderland met with us and said: ‘Do what you need to do,’ I was relieved. This is just a short distraction, and then we can get on with rebuilding the back of the Stone Bank.”
The additional cost to undergird the Family Vision building is $1,800.
“We only get one chance to do this right and this money will be well-spent.” Kessler said. “We will have to find donors or grants to help pay for it, but it will be worth it in the end.”
Information about the Stone Bank project and how you can help support the project is online at http://www.StoneBank.org.
We will be posting more photos and updates as the work chugs along. The hiccup and the $1,800 detour it caused means we need more donations to get this thing done. Can you help? Send a donation or dedicate a stone today. As always, thanks for reading the Stone Bank Blog!