“Mike Ouellet is very attentive to even the smallest of details to provide a level of quality not usually obtained in the construction industry.”
William S. Gardiner, CFM, Bowdoin College
The marathon project known collectively as the “Bricks,” is comprised of six historic buildings on the Bowdoin College quad. The oldest dates back to the early 19th century.
The challenges began in phase one. Hyde Hall, built in 1917, had never been renovated. The team took great care to preserve its four exterior walls—all that was left standing prior to renovation. Working through the winter on an aggressive 10-month schedule, we carefully removed and rebuilt each floor in 25-foot sections to ensure the structural integrity of the original bricks. Before foundations for the structural steel and elevator pit could be built, the team had to cut and remove the concrete slab in the basement, then excavate 200 yards of sand by hand, taking great care not to undermine the existing foundation.
Winthrop Hall, built in 1822 and home for a time to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, posed an even greater challenge. The lower stories were built with 4- and 5-layers of brick, but the 4th floor had a meager two layers. Moisture had penetrated the mortar joints causing severe deterioration over time. To save the original bricks—and prevent a costly delay—the team reinforced the interior of the 4th floor with gunite. This solution cost one third of the original estimate on the potential change to the scope of the job.
Ouellet has been renovating the buildings in pairs, on a schedule that must run like clockwork. Ouellet renovated all 6 buildings in 24 months, working in pairs, 8 months at a time.