Author Topic: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"  (Read 125634 times)

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C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #30 on: June 29, 2012, 10:42:41 PM »
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I now officially own a building for the layout. Previous owners worked like madmen to clear out their "stuff", and, by gosh, everything that wasn't nailed to a wall actually left the premises... even the church organ (obsolete electronic type) that we were gritting our teeth was going to be ours by default because they couldn't move it. We refer to it as a "Wurlitzerectomy". After all, it was removal of an organ.

The glitch of the day was the (*&^%$#!!!) power company. They processed the disconnect for the previous owners, but dropped the ball on our new connect, so after the closing we went to start work and found they had removed the meter. During the closing. "Oh, sorry, we can't schedule your reconnect until Monday. It's not our fault that it's going to be 105° for the next three days." Bastards. I filed a complaint with the state utility commission.

We did get some work done today in spite of the relative dark, including getting some moldy/stinky carpet out of a room and into the dumpster. We removed a bunch of kitsch tacked to the façade, and I put my Silhouette SD to work making some nice vinyl address lettering for the door. I'll post pics in Weekend Update tomorrow.

Talked to City Hall this week (they like us there... seriously!), and they are seeing what they can do to bend the rules to get us grant money for fixing up the exterior. All of their community improvement grants are oriented towards commercial retail or service professional businesses, and they are scratching their heads to find a way to help. Even the prez of the local Chamber of Commerce came by to hear about our plans, and a friend who happens to be the former mayor told us this morning she had a long chat with the city Economic Development Director about what we're trying to do. The building (see pix above) was allowed to get to be a moderate eyesore, and they are collectively elated that we are serious about cleaning it up.

So... here we go. Like I said, it's going to be a summer full of demolition and construction before benchwork goes up and the first stick of flex is laid. My wife wants to call her little studio biz "Wrong Side of the Tracks". That's because we're on the east side of the tracks and I explained to her that the location is crap for photography during most of the normal railfanning day.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

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C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #31 on: June 30, 2012, 08:30:21 PM »
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A handful of "little things" fixed last night and today, more progress hampered by the lack of electricity. A broken sewer cleanout was stinking-up the south exterior, so that's addressed. Holes in the outside disconnect panel were freshly plugged to keep the wasps out. Unused phone and cable wiring tacked to the skin were removed. The handicapped parking sign was removed. Rusted mailbox replaced. Back door - needs to be replaced, anyway - got an additional slide bolt since the normal deadbolt had been kicked through the jamb.

Surprise of the day was how hot the front vestibule gets in the morning. There is definitely some 95% tint film in our future. I had better find out if that works before demolishing the vestibule walls. It shouldn't be as bad after we get the portico on the front.

Our semi-adopted (long story) college student came home today. His "summer job" before starting grad school will be helping me with the demo.

A better three-quarter view of the front is below. Yes, it needs paint. That light pole is going away; I've already hired an electrician to put a new service drop and panel in the back left corner. Otherwise, I'm getting quite frustrated (read "peeved") that my calls to contractors are not being returned, even after they've come out for an estimate. I've run into that before locally - nobody wants to do repair work or light remodeling, it has to be new work or a big project, or they're not interested. This explains a lot of the deteriorated properties around here. Must be nice to be able to walk away from $5000 worth of work, week after week. I did get smart about hiring the electrician, and went to the local electrical parts house to ask specifically for referrals to somebody who does small jobs.


...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

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C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #32 on: July 06, 2012, 11:12:18 PM »
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Progress!

Most of this week has been cleaning up and cleaning out. Turns out that the immediately previous owners did zilch to the place - we were cleaning up crap from two, even three owners ago. Filled up the dumpster and then some. The old kitchen area was gross, as old kitchens are once you start removing cabinets. Walls around the future crew lounge and restroom areas started coming down in earnest today. Discovered several rotted purlins around old storm damage.

Made some changes to the plan to reduce the new construction and give it a more open feel. Moved the planned stairs location to not take such a big hunk out of the middle of the studio floor. Did a fair amount of HVAC planning, and setup appointments with AC contractors for next week.

Got an estimate on the façade remodel. Not too bad, but have another guy coming over to look at it Monday.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

Quod Nesciunt Sibi Damno Non Erit

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #33 on: July 13, 2012, 10:58:58 PM »
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As noted in Weekend Update, this week's big progress was getting the electric service entrance hardware installed. I had no idea a commercial grade 200A meter socket and breaker panel were going to break the bank like that. Take your Lowes/Home Depot prices for residential service parts, and then quadruple them. Ouch!

AT&T and Charter came by to take their service drops off that light pole by the front door. Power company won't take the pole down if there are other utilities on it, even if I tell them they're disconnected.

HVAC contractors have not returned my calls. I don't blame them, the heat wave has them humping trying to keep everybody going. However, with the new electrical panel done the next thing in the way of big progress is getting the new AC installed and the old one out. I can't start construction on the main room until the old air handler is out of the way, but I'm not about to remove it right now. I recall something about a heat wave.

We've been working like Trojans gutting the interior. I'm beat, and the helpers are starting to complain about insufficient DQ breaks. Next week's projects are whipping the locker room into shape, with all new fixtures, adding a shower, and replacing the hot water heater. After that is the new stairway to the studio.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

Quod Nesciunt Sibi Damno Non Erit

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #34 on: July 21, 2012, 09:11:26 PM »
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Returning to where I left off, the "locker room" and "crew lounge" plan has been scuttled for the moment. We (...well, Robyn...) decided that having the studio space on the second floor was just not going to work for her. So I relocated the stairs out of the main area plan for more space. Then, the old separate ladies'/men's restrooms have been reduced to just the old men's room, which will be cleaned-up and get fresh drywall. The plumbing from the ladies' room will be repurposed for a counter and large sink so she has lots of elbow room for messes (papermaking and printmaking are two of her hobbies/skills).

If we decide to do a lounge/apartment area, it will go upstairs over the studio.

Finally had visits from two HVAC contractors. Both quotes are 30% over what I had budgeted, but not too much heartburn about it since my working numbers were old, anyway. I have one more quote outstanding and then we'll get that going. Wiring is starting to go into the new electrical panel; I already have the old panel subbed into the new panel, so as soon as the power company moves the drop to the new entrance all I have to do is throw two breakers and we're in, at least with temporary lighting until I run the new stuff.

We are still gutting things and have a ways to go. Here are the piles of rubble queued-up for the dumpster and recycling:



Tool storage and break area occupies the cleanest room in the project currently, which is the east half of the layout room:



West half of the layout room now has the drywall down from the old low ceiling plus some of the old insulation, giving the crew an idea of what the space will look like with high ceilings. Unfortunately, you can't see it in this photo, just a lot of demo aftermath. That white wall will be moving ten feet deeper:


...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

Quod Nesciunt Sibi Damno Non Erit

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #35 on: July 21, 2012, 11:29:49 PM »
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That's a h*ll of an undertaking.  Watching with interest!  Curious about your new sig too...


C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #36 on: July 22, 2012, 12:48:59 AM »
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Well, it does seem that major structure renovations are a hobby, hence the sig line. It isn't our first by any means, but it is our biggest. This is basically a gut job on a pole barn. The decision was whether more effort would be expended trying to clean-up what was there (which was pretty yukky) and fit our 'druthers' around it, or create ideal spaces and enjoy it. We obviously went with the latter... three weeks into it we are not regretting it yet. Lots of progress, and the vision remains intact, although we aren't afraid of tweaking it on the fly.

It will slow down after this week. The college kid heads off to grad school on Friday, so it's going to just be the two of us, and then maybe a handyman/helper when it comes to heavy lifting, like moving 2nd floor joists or erecting new stud walls. Exterior upgrades are being hired out.

This building once belonged to the local AA chapter, we knew that. However, the records we uncovered yesterday revealed that the real seller of the property was not the "junque" dealer (who was purchasing it under contract for deed), but the trustee and primary benefactor of the AA organization. What made our eyes really bug-out was when we loosened a false panel, finding six boxes of records for the AA group. Names were named... tax papers, membership lists, contributor lists, tearful letters of apology. Oh my gosh! First task for Monday is finding a business records shredding service; it's a small town, this stuff is just too much dynamite.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

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C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #37 on: July 22, 2012, 01:03:50 AM »
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Here's the latest plan revision:

...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

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Specter3

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #38 on: July 22, 2012, 08:27:47 PM »
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Oh come on! I am sure that info could have been really handy when it comes to these contractors quotes you are trying to get.  ;)

Chris333

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #39 on: July 29, 2012, 04:31:45 AM »
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With that much space you could switch to O scale. Check out this 100’ x 59’ large layout:
http://www.scaleartmodels.com/dwpindex.html

JSL

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #40 on: July 30, 2012, 11:54:51 AM »
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That is one impressive O layout. C855B how goes that demo and rebuilding. I'm following this with great interest. Keep the updates a coming!

Scottl

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #41 on: July 30, 2012, 12:23:48 PM »
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Actually, when I look at that space, I wonder how you can fill it with n-scale.  A phased design perhaps, but this will become a lifetime project. 

I'm quite jealous of the space, but my own mental efforts to put a layout in there have left me struggling.  Can't wait to see your ideas.

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #42 on: July 30, 2012, 12:37:53 PM »
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Thanks, guys!

Yes - O would be nice, but that 100' makes a bunch of difference. 45'x45' would seemed cramped by comparison. I'm a big fan of wide open spaces, long trains, big power and heavy mainline ops, so N it shall remain. The grand dream here is a railfan's model railroad. For inspiration, I am drawing from the Greeley museum's HO layout, http://www.gfsm.org/museumLayout.html. Yes, this is a lifetime project. Absolutely. It's intended to be.

No progress to report this week other than filling the dumpster a few times with demo detritus, we were definitely getting ahead of the trash pickup schedule. The college kid had to be prepped and packed-up for grad school. (Proud parent here... he let it slip that he's been nominated for two different Fulbright scholarships. We were floored.) I spent most of the week working on the car we were giving him, making sure it was good for two more years of "no worries" operation.

One interesting development, tho', given the issues getting AC people to respond. I need one more quote before pressing the button, but I found an online HVAC supplier who sells everything, including the refrigerant, for the determined D-I-Y'er. They will even build your ductwork per plan, although I haven't priced that yet. Anyway, by building my own ductwork - yes, it's possible, arguably easy - I priced-out complete mechanicals, parts, tools and installation supplies for under half what we've been quoted. Not that I begrudge the contractors their value, but I really have to wonder what's in that $6000 over the cost of the supplies? It surely can't be 120 man-hours, allowing $50/hour average rate between the technician and the helpers. Robyn had a GREAT idea - buy the supplies and hire a recent grad from the local college's HVAC program. We're certainly not in a hurry... the contractors have seen to that.  :|
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

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C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #43 on: August 03, 2012, 03:00:52 AM »
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I had the privilege today of chatting with several serious modelers (all HO'ers) about their modeling and their layouts. Everyone's reaction to the GC&W's layout space has been one of surprise and amazement, and "In N? Really? Wow." Nearly all were familiar with the Greeley museum layout, including one who is a regular operator there. Each time somebody said "Copy Greeley?" I had to correct them stating that it was an inspiration, and there were no delusions about achieving that scale of operation and execution.

This was a great opportunity to gather useful pointers from guys with large layout experience:
  • #1 issue on a big layout is maintenance. Without help you'll find it takes a lot of time you'd rather be operating to keep everything in running condition.
  • Maintenance severity can be mitigated with good environmental control. Full HVAC with particulate filtering (electrostatic) in a well-sealed room is highly recommended. One commented that he abandoned his large layout and went smaller because he couldn't keep up with the maintenance required in his less-than-ideal environment.
  • Perfect the trackwork and electrical before any scenery. It's "a be-otch!" (one said) to fix track after the plaster/foam/whatever is down. (I didn't pursue the concept of phased construction in this particular conversation.)
  • The 24"-reach message was further reinforced.
  • I mentioned 4-foot aisles, but 3-foot aisles where necessary, and was advised 3'6" would be a better minimum for design purposes. This was not so much for working room, but elbow room for adding benchwork later to accommodate track realignments if something didn't work operationally.
  • I was shown examples of benchwork-to-floor scenery, with the caveat of not going all the way to the floor, leaving an 8" gap for errant feet. (I would use a toe-kick, however, versus a gap.)
One take-away was repeated from here - recruit volunteers. I again mentioned the difficulty with this due to our relative isolation, but, point taken, it appears I will have to redouble my efforts on this.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

Quod Nesciunt Sibi Damno Non Erit

C855B

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Re: Gibbon, Cozad & Western - "The 100th Meridian Line"
« Reply #44 on: August 12, 2012, 07:52:57 PM »
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As reported "elsewhere", we've been gone for almost two weeks. HOWEVER, on returning we drive up to the building and - OMFG! - the city poured a new sidewalk in front! The old sidewalk was all broken up, and I had the college kid do what he could to clean off the overgrowth. Apparently his efforts shamed the city into fixing it. It also may have helped that we had conversations with the city development administrator about matching funds for aesthetic improvements, but they couldn't help because we weren't a business. "OK, then how about doing something with that sidewalk?" Bingo. We were very surprised since we thought it was going to be a "next year" budget item. As soon as they backfill, Robyn has her work cut out trying to convert the weedpatch into a lawn.

We did spend the weekend on a minor improvement - exterior faucet for the aforementioned lawn. Then there was further work getting the layout area cleaned-up and out, and getting more of the what-were-they-thinking? rat's nest electric wiring out of the attic. We came back to the house this evening tired, but pleased with the progress.
...mike

http://www.gibboncozadandwestern.com

Quod Nesciunt Sibi Damno Non Erit