Southwest Montana Veterans Home Update

By Mike Lawson

Greetings once again to you the Veterans/Communities/Counties of SW MT who are the chief organizers and supporters of the “SW MT Veteran’s Home.

Wind and rain were a big factor this week, as it hit Butte hard and limited what could be accomplished outside within Veteran’s Home Site. Many things did get done. But some of the guys working outside had to go home one day due to the weather and worked Friday as a make-up day. Another example of “Adapt and Overcome” that makes the work on this site work so well. Site Construction Superintendent Mike Ascheman had to juggle the scheduled sub-contractor assignments he wanted to see get done, due to the bad weather. In spite of it al,l the work progression on the different buildings continued to advance. I had a good visit with both Mike and Carpenter General Foreman John Kotka. This is always a great experience and their positive attitudes and attention to detail reinforces that our Vet Home construction is in good hands. Liaison Mark Gollinger and I did a walk-through on Friday and continue to see good progress throughout the whole construction site.

Construction Updates:

Community Center Building--Interior: Not a lot happened there last week. A couple of sheetrock guys were doing some mud and taping. The electricians were waiting for the architect to make a change for some of their ceiling fixtures which were placed in the same openings where some of the fire suppressant sprinkler heads were installed. These changes are now done, and they can now finish up their light fixture installations. A plumber was working in the mechanical room on some boiler work/piping. John Kotka said he’ll have some carpenters doing window trim in this building, this week. The speciality doors left to be installed are scheduled to arrive on site the first week in July.

Exterior: Siding Guys moved to help on Cottage #1, as they’re still waiting on material for this building. The Covid-19 has affected many areas, and in this case, getting material on site on time has been a problem.

Cottage #1--Interior: The sheetrock taping and mud process continues. The Plumbers and Sheetmetal workers are insulating some of the duct work and piping. The metal T-bar ceiling framework in the coffered ceiling area, has started to be installed.

Exterior: Siding has really progressed and is looking very good. Worth driving by to see. Guessing it will be completely sided in about two weeks.

Cottage #2--Interior: The Sheetrock Hangers are really moving with not much left to finish. In fact, some of the tape/mud guys have moved in to start the tape/mud process. The Plumbers and Sheetmetal guys are doing a little work in getting their installations and component insulation moving forward. One of the Plummer’s was soldering copper pipe joints for a new line, when we walked by the Mechanical Room.

Exterior: Ready for Siding.

Cottage #3--Interior: The Mexican sheetrock hangers went home for a couple of days until the half-wall sound insulation is installed. Mike expects them back on Tuesday or Wednesday. The Plumbers/Sheetmetal Workers worked on ductwork and piping. The Electricians are working on a change order for each resident room. It seems that beside each resident bed, there was a plug-in for a lamp. It was felt a wall light would be safer, as a lamp could easily be knocked off a table.

Exterior: The foam blue insulation board installation was completed as well as all the windows and door frames installed. This Cottage is now ready for siding also. An Electrician was working on bringing a permanent underground source from the Electric Vault to this Cottage. The heavy rain forced him to quit until this week when, hopefully, the ground dries up.

Cottage #4--Interior: The Carpenters have all the interior door frames installed. They also were doing the backing and block framing. The Electricians are running their conduit/wire as well as installing electrical boxes/receptacles. The Sheetmetal guys are working on their HVAC ductwork/components. Part of that is insulating their Ductwork. Plumbers are doing the rough-in of piping/vents/etc.

Exterior: A great start on the 3M peel and stick Vapor Barrier material. Carpenters who had to go home due to the rainy weather earlier in the week were making great progress in getting this wrapped on the outside walls. This will be quickly followed be the foam blue board/ windows and door frame installation.

Cottage #5: Most of the Carpenters were on this building, getting the roof truss roll-up completed and the roof sheeting nailed down. They also framed some inside soffits which will be framed into place this week. The Roofer is now able to start the roof paper and shingle process to get this last Cottage “Dried In.” It’s exciting to see this, the last Cottage, being built and coming along so well.

Site Work: The weather was the culprit this past week and prevented Mike Zemlijak from doing any great amount of dirt work. This week, hopefully, will change that as good weather is in the forecast. The footings are scheduled for the maintenance/receiving building. Zemlijak will also dig underground trenches for the electricians, who will be bring power from the Electrical Vault building to each of the cottages. Steed Concrete is scheduled to pour the monolithic slab for the Maintenance/Receiving building, the Electric Vault building, the Well House as well as some other cement pads.

The State is still working on the Operation of out Veteran Home. I expect that once it’s figured out, that Shaunda Hildebrand will quickly let us know. It’s a big question-mark right now. I’ll start opening the Viewing Hooch toward the end of next week. It’ll be opened between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. and closed around 7:00 p.m. We’ll have hand disinfectant and wipes there. The cookies/chips/etc., are in individual packages for your safety. Please clean up after yourselves.

It’s now officially summer and warmer weather is coming. Enjoy this time and be safe.

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