Mailing Checks to Beth El: If you have payments set up to Beth El from your bank or charitable fund, please be sure to give them our current address at the Freedman Center: 1008 Watts Street.
Services resumed at Beth El as of May 18, 2019. Remaining work is still being completed in the building. Our offices can still be found in the Freedman Center next door.
As you probably know, we are planning our first service in the renovated building on Saturday, May 18. On that date, the plan is to have access to the lobby, sanctuary and social hall. While work is still going on in the building, we will have passed the essential health and safety inspections necessary for the City to allow us to enter it and start setting up furnishings and the site will be ready for partial access. We have a lot to get done before May 18, and hopefully all the plans we have carefully made will not get too far derailed. Every detail may not be completed, but we will have a lot to show you on the 18th – and more improvements will be made after that. So if you see things that aren’t quite perfect, please be patient! For instance, we are working hard to ensure the wood paneling in the sanctuary is exactly the right color – while we hope to have them ready for May 18, we currently have stained plywood as a placeholder.
CT Wilson’s crews are currently very busy working on the interior finishes of our building. Upstairs, almost all ceiling tiles and light fixtures are in, and almost all drywall work is done. Interior door frames and doors have been installed. Most of the wood paneling is up on the lobby walls. They are maple panels, with a lovely, light colored finish. Toilets have been installed in the bathrooms, and sink vanities are getting installed now. We are so grateful to the entire team for the care and attention they are giving to our home.
We plan to finish the downstairs after the upstairs is completed. Almost all sheetrock work is done, and flooring has been installed in all of the classrooms and storage rooms. Cabinets have also been installed in the classrooms. Most light fixtures are up in the ceilings, but a few are still being shipped to the site. Ceiling tiles will be finished after those light fixtures go in.
There is a beehive of activity in our building right now as CT Wilson is working towards finishing the upstairs and getting a “Conditional Certificate of Occupancy” in May. Crews are working on installing ceiling tiles, finishing walls, installing flooring and bathroom tile, and finishing up stormwater drainage outside the building. The ceiling and beams of the sanctuary have been painted and look beautiful, and the acoustics in the social hall ceiling are being enhanced with tectum panels.
The millwork company is delivering the wood panels for our walls, we are reusing wood from the old building where possible and adding new wood in a lighter color. It has been fun and encouraging to note that there are several women working on the drywall and painting crews.
Outdoors, Beth El members will see landscaping work starting in mid-April. We’re particularly excited about the “xeriscaping” plan that Dan Schnitzer put together with Tributary Land Design. It will eliminate our costly irrigation system, and replace it with an environmentally friendly landscape of drought resistant plants and charming paths. Another exciting moment will be when our new kitchen equipment is delivered in April, including a new stove (with working burners!), new ovens and warming racks.
Overall we are on track for the congregation to start occupying the upstairs of the building by mid May, and the downstairs in late June.
The renovation and expansion of our building is in an exciting phase as we head into the final months of construction. There is a good deal of site work going on right now, inside the building most of our new sheetrock walls and ceilings are up, and they are getting sanded and primed for painting. Duke Power has been upgrading our system so we will have permanent power to the building, and as that is competed our contractor will start operating the new heating/cooling system, and conditioning the indoors so that work on painting, tiling, and floor finishes can progress. If you drive by, you should see a lot of progress. We have taken a few groups through the building, and our architects recently hosted a group of local architects who were interested in the building and the work we are doing.
CT Wilson has been making rapid progress on work inside the building now that it is “dried in,” which means that the new roof is finished and new windows are in place. Most of the new wall sheetrock has been installed on both levels, and it is currently getting sanded and primed. Heating and cooling ductwork is still underway in the ceiling, as is sprinkler work. Wiring for our new fire alarm and audio-visual systems will be going in early February, in addition to ceiling tile installation.
A key schedule target will be met when Duke Energy turns on permanent power to the building. CT Wilson expects this to happen in the third week of February. After this point they will turn on our new heating/cooling system and start conditioning the indoor spaces. After these spaces are conditioned, they will be able to start work on flooring and painting.
On the exterior of the building, CT Wilson has been pouring concrete pads and walkways when temperatures allow. Recent warm weather has accelerated that work. Masonry work is almost complete on the exterior as well.
CT Wilson has made good progress on our building in the past month, in spite of bad weather and the holidays. Their crews worked most of the weekends this month, and even worked on New Year’s eve.
Currently masonry crews are on the site every day putting up brick veneer on the exterior of the new additions. Our new roof is almost completely done and the building is essentially “dried in” from the weather. It will be completely dried in when exterior windows are up. Window frames and glass will start getting installed in early January.
Inside the building, crews are focusing on heating/cooling, electrical and sheet-rocking work. Most of the large “feeder” trunks of the central air system are in place and are starting to get insulated. Most electrical outlet “rough-ins” are also in place. The downstairs of the building passed its interior framing inspection and the upstairs framing inspection should pass early January. Crews have begun sheet-rocking some walls in areas that passed framing inspections.
CT Wilson has made substantial progress on framing our new additions in the past month, and has just started putting the “air barrier” on areas with new exterior siding. This is the blue coat that is going up over the purple sheathing. It will prevent humid air from penetrating through the walls. After the air barrier is up, the masonry crew will come back out to put a brick veneer over the new walls.
The pergola on the front of our building is completely framed up, and CT Wilson is putting the roof on it now. They are also putting the new roof on the main building. They plan to begin installing windows by mid-December. After windows are installed, the building will be “dried in,” which means it will be impervious to rain and snow.
Wood and metal framing is continuing inside the building, as are electrical, plumbing, and HVAC “rough-ins”. Most interior wall framing is now in place, including the elevator shaft. Electrical conduit and outlet boxes are visible throughout those walls, and plumbing pipe “stub outs” are in place in the future bathroom areas.
The Kitchen Committee has finalized and placed our kitchen equipment order, and we expect to receive the major appliances in February. The Finishes Selection Committee has also finished selecting carpet, paint and light fixtures.
October has been an exciting month for Beth El’s renovation and expansion. In the past few weeks CT Wilson finished framing the exterior walls of our new office and social hall additions. They have also installed most of the exterior “sheathing”, which is the purple board going up on the sides of the additions. They are well into framing up the pergola on the front of the building, and their masons started working on brick pergola columns this week. Beth El members who drive by the site can really see the building starting to take shape now.
Inside the building, most of the interior wall framing is also complete. Much of our new heating/cooling ductwork is also in place. And plumbing “rough-ins” are well underway, with most drain lines for future fixtures in place.
CT Wilson plans to start roofing work during the first week of November. About 2 weeks after that, they should have the building “dried in”, which means that it will be impervious to rain. This is an important milestone in the construction process, because it means that bad weather will no longer delay construction.
We are now in our 8th month of construction work with CT Wilson, and in spite of a rainy summer, we are still working well within our budget and target schedule for completion.
On the exterior of the building, all footings have been poured for our new building additions on the north and west sides of the property. Congregation members who have driven by the property lately have probably been excited to see steel framing getting erected for those new additions. Framing for the north side addition (expansion of the social hall and new downstairs multi-purpose room) is almost complete, and CT Wilson plans to pour the concrete slab for it next week. Framing for the west side addition (new offices and administrative area) is about 50% complete.
Inside the building, new wall framing is completely in place in the existing downstairs areas. “Rough-ins” for, plumbing and heating/air are about 75% complete, and electrical rough-ins are about 50% complete. CT Wilson’s highest priority from a schedule perspective is to get our new roof on the building, so that the construction will be “dried in” from the weather and work will no longer be disrupted by rain days.
It’s exciting to see the furnishings and finishes come into focus, as they will greatly affect the feel of the building. The furniture committee has sourced some beautiful options for sanctuary chairs, and they are both comfortable and functional. They are close to making final selections. The kitchen committee is about a month away from finalizing our kitchen equipment order. Congregation member Steve Herman is working with the BEME committee on designs for furnishings and fixtures made out of our old sanctuary pews, and the Finishes Committee recently signed off on final choices for carpeting and light fixtures.
We have now been working on the building for 8 months, the demolition phase has been completed and the large storm retention pit has been completed (finally!). Our contractors are busy installing electrical systems, plumbing, wiring and heating/cooling systems. They are working through the rain and the heat and working with our neighbors to ensure minimal disruption and noise. If you drive by the site, you might notice that they have started on for the new additions that will go on the front and the side of the building, so you should be able to see progress on those elements.
We are working on putting plans in place for the interior and striving to plan ahead and avoid changes later in the process (and associated costs!). We have finalized the plans for Audio, IT and security and we are putting systems in place which will serve our community for many years.
We are making decisions on flooring and furniture for the new building and the sanctuary. There are many factors in deciding the final chairs for the sanctuary, including comfort and cost. We hope to have arms on one third of the chairs – so if we configure them correctly, every person in the sanctuary would have access to an arm. All chairs will have book shelves underneath to hold both of our books. We know we can’t make everybody 100% happy, but please know we are spending a lot of time and effort on this and we are trying!
Steve Herman is working on wood elements using the wood from our pews, including Mezzuzot and a hand washing station. We are working with a group of students from Riverside High School on the replacement Memorial Board. We are building a home that will be welcoming and comfortable and make us proud.
We are now entering our 5th month of construction work with CT Wilson, and we are still working well within our budget and target schedule for completion. WFA and CT Wilson have proven to be a great team for solving problems that arise in the field, and minimizing “change order” costs.
Demolition inside the building is now complete, as is all asbestos abatement. CT Wilson has begun some interior framing downstairs, closed the location of the old stairwell, and opened up the location for the new stairwell. The elevator pit is in place. Heating/cooling systems are about 50% complete, and electrical work is following close behind.
On the exterior of the building, grading is now about 40% complete. CT Wilson has finished excavating the pit for the new stormwater retention area, called the “BMP”. This is the large pit now in front of the building and near the parking lot. The actual BMP area will be much smaller after the walls are built and earth is backfilled. Footings excavation has also begun, and tests show the soil is more than adequate for load-bearing purposes.
On a less technical (and more fun) note, committees led by Beth El congregation members are making great progress with decisions that will affect the final look and feel of the building. The Finishes and Selections Committee has selected paint colors, flooring, wall and ceiling panels, light fixtures and ceramic tile for bathrooms. The Audio/IT Committee, working with consultants, has designed the future audio system for the building and selected the company that will install it. The Furniture Committee has begun looking at chair samples and office furniture. The Landscaping Committee has begun spreading woodchips at the front of the property, as part of a “xeriscaping” approach that will reduce our future needs for water and chemicals to maintain the lawn. And local high school students are working with congregation members to design a system that will manage and update information on the new memorial board.
The early months of 2018 have been a busy time for everyone involved with the renovation of our beloved shul. We are now in our 7th week of construction with CT Wilson, and construction is on schedule and on budget.
Demolition inside the building is 95% complete, and asbestos has been completely abated from the downstairs and the windows. CT Wilson is now cutting into the downstairs slab to rough in plumbing areas.
Exterior demolition of trees and some walkways is underway and will continue until the end of March. Trees we specified to save have been surrounded by tree protection fences. CT Wilson expects to begin excavation of foundations in the first week of April.
ECS, a well-known environmental engineering firm, has been hired to do materials inspections and special inspections during the construction period. They will inspect and test to make sure that most important load bearing aspects of the building are built correctly. For instance, they will confirm that soils under our footings are stable, concrete is mixed correctly, wood framing is installed correctly, and steel welds are done to code. They will inspect many other things in addition to these items.
The Finishes Committee is planning to meet with our architect, Weinstein-Friedlein, before the end of the month to begin selection of color palettes, tile, paint colors, and flooring. They plan to finish making selections by the end of May.
We have some big news to share this week. Yesterday Noah Pickus signed our construction contract with CT Wilson and CT Wilson began work on our site. Two weeks ago, under a separate contract, the asbestos tile and insulation was removed (abated) from the downstairs of the main building. We’re rolling folks!
Those of you who visited the Freedman Center this week probably noticed that a construction fence has gone up around the main building and most of the parking lot. This fence is essential to protect both their equipment and our children, who will be near the construction as they go to Talmud/Torah classes at the Freedman Center. We should also note that in about a month CT Wilson will need to fence off the entire parking lot because they’ll be excavating foundations and the storm water drain. The parking lot will remain fenced off for the duration of the project, so congregation members who go to the Freedman Center will need to park on Green and Watts Streets.
Next week, CT Wilson will be mainly “mobilizing” on the site- that is, getting their equipment and construction trailer set up. Once those things are in place, they will begin demolition in the main building.
Sending mail to Beth El
During the renovation, our offices are temporarily in the Freedman Center. Please address all mail to 1008 Watts Street, Durham, NC 27701 during this time.
Important message about parking for the Freedman Center
We’d like to share with you the exciting news that CT Wilson (our building contractor) is starting work on our site this morning (January 31)! In order to protect congregation members as well as their equipment, CT Wilson will need to fence off the site of the main building as well as the parking lot for the duration of the project. For the next 6 weeks, they will fence off only the back half of our parking lot, so that we may still park in the front half. After that they will have to fence off the whole parking lot to accommodate the construction happening there.
So starting today (January 31), there is a construction fence on the back half of the parking lot, but you can still park on the front half for the next 6 weeks. We are working diligently to create a plan for Talmud Torah and parking for members with mobility issues.
Accessing TAPC at 927 West Trinity Avenue:
- Parking is available on Minerva Ave. and in the lots off Gregson St. and Minerva Ave.
- Please leave the spaces in the parking lot off Trinity Ave. for our congregants and guests with limited mobility.
- The building will be locked; please access TAPC through the Gregson St. or Trinity Ave. Courtyard Entrances (see map below) where Beth El Greeters will let you in.
- For congregants with limited mobility, please use in the Preschool entrance. (see map)
TAPC Map with Entrances