HMNS Expansion: The Story So Far

Before a single spade is turned to construct a building, first that building is an idea. And then it is a program. And then it is a design. And then it becomes construction documents, during which time it maybe become a slightly different design. And finally, with all the approvals in hand, it is time to build the building.

For the HMNS Expansion project, museum staff, board members, and project team members spent years preparing and planning for the February 2010 construction start. Preliminary design work by Gensler began at the end of 2006, and general contractor Linbeck was brought in to perform preconstruction services beginning in 2008. And while construction is by far the riskiest (and most expensive) phase of a project, after years of planning, the occasion of groundbreaking results in no small measure of relief for those involved in ferrying the project to that milestone.

So with all the excitement and anticipation built up over several years of planning, the first six months of construction at the HMNS Expansion site might have been a little anticlimactic to some, as eager project participants and spectators waited, and then waited, and then waited some more to see “the hole” for the Expansion wing’s basement level take shape. But rest assured, much was accomplished those first six months, albeit below the surface and behind the scenes, to prepare the site and the museum for all the activity ahead:

HMNS Major Accomplishments from February to August 2010:

Relocation of Existing Utilities at Donor Wing

Progress on the New Wing Buildout

One of the first steps in the buildout process was to remove
the existing utilities at the site of the new wing.
See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr.

Removal of Existing Delivery Driveway  and Completion of First Phase of Permanent Delivery Driveway

Progress on the New Wing Buildout
The existing delivery driveway was also removed and the first phase of the
new delivery driveway was completed. This is this “after” shot.
See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr.

Site Demolition and Rerouting of Underground Utilities

Progress on the New Wing Buildout
This phase included site demolition and rerouting of existing utilities.
In this shot, the contractor is installing a maze of pipes and conduits
now covered by the new delivery driveway.
See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr.

Initial 3’ Cut for the Building Foundation

Progress on the New Wing Buildout
The contractor makes the initial foundation cut, just 3 feet deep to begin with.
See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr.

Installation of 261 Soldier Piles for Foundation System

Progress on the New Wing Buildout
This was taken during the installation of 261 Soldier Piles for the
Foundation System of the new building.
See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr.

Forming and Pouring the Pile Cap

Progress on the New Wing Buildout
Here, the crew is forming and pouring the Pile Cap.
See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr.

But as the project entered its seventh month, the signs of earnest construction activity appeared as the HMNS Expansion work kicked into high gear.

Visible Progress in September!

Arrival of the Tower Crane

Progress on the New Wing Buildout
The tower crane is completed!
See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr.

Excavation of the Basement Level

Progress on the New Wing Buildout
Excavation of the basement level begins!
See the full set of photos of the expansion progress on Flickr.

Read our Q&A with Susanna from earlier this month for more insight into the construction process, and check back soon for more updates from the construction site.

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About Susanna

Susanna joined the HMNS Expansion project team in October 2009 as the museum’s representative during construction of the new wing, which is scheduled for completion in 2012. When she’s not laughing her head off at the comic stylings of the HMNS Building department (while trying to get some work done) Susanna is also principal of The Sarrazin Group, a real estate investment and management company, and is pursuing her MBA through the weekend program at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Follow the progress of the HMNS Expansion project through her monthly updates, which she hopes will make her as big an internet star as Zac.

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