We are currently undergoing renovations at Beth El, and are holding many of our services at the Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church (TAPC), 927 W Trinity Ave in Durham, NC. If you have questions regarding the location of specific services or programs, please email email@example.com.
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.
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