Moving Forward – July 27

Full-service amenities

Work presses on in the Oddfellows Lodge with utility installation, wall framing, and continued demolition. Utilities run the gamut from personal use – water, electricity, and gas for residential spaces, to commercial spaces – plumbing, fire suppression, and air circulation. Water utilities will be used for restroom access, both residential and commercial, in-unit appliances, and commercial sanitation. Each apartment includes a washer and dryer, dishwasher, and at least one full restroom. Fire suppression systems are being installed for the entire building, in both commercial and residential spaces, as are HVAC ducts. Additional air circulation for commercial spaces, including hood vents for the two planned restaurant spaces is being installed, too. 

Electrifying utilities

Modernizing the electrical capabilities of the buildings has also been a focus of contractors these past few weeks. Breaker boxes have been installed in each of the 15 apartment units, and wiring for lights, switches, and outlets has been positioned in preparation for drywall installation. The in-unit dryers and stoves will operate on 220-volt outlets. The other amenities of the apartment unit are being installed including water lines for the showers, toilets, dishwasher, kitchen and bathroom sinks, and water heater and applicable drainage for the aforementioned systems. 

Rolling out the rooftop

Efforts to waterproof and insulate the spaces properly remain on schedule in the Oddfellows Lodge and have begun to spread to other buildings, including the McGavren Block (121-125 N. Washington St.) and the Conant Block (108 W. Main St.) Many of the spaces retain an EPDM roof (most commonly referred to as a “rubber roof”) which utilizes multiple plys of reinforcing material and can last for upwards of 50 years if maintained properly. Most of the buildings have now had their roofs replaced with a superior KEE roof membrane, and now insulation efforts begin inside. Spray foam insulation has been blown into the third-floor apartments of the Oddfellows Lodge; contractors will continue to spray the insulation on the other two floors over the next week. 

Framing a vibrant living space

Insulation must be finished in tandem with wall framing and utility installation so that drywall placement may begin. Contractors have finished placement for most of the wall frames in the building for the apartment units. Wall frames for commercial spaces are still a work in progress. Commercial tenants do have some options for building out spaces to the operators’ specifications and may have work continuing in the area even after the major renovations are finished. Apartments will have a double-stud party wall for privacy between units and a single-stud wall for privacy between rooms in single units. Commercial units will have structural brick walls for noise-deadening privacy between spaces.  

Tearing down, but building up

Finally, parts of the Phase One buildings are still experiencing selective demolition. The brick wall on the north side (facing the alley) of 110 N. Washington St. has been removed and is currently being replaced. The wall had begun to bow in the middle and was no longer supporting the roof properly. Masonry crews have since blocked the wall back in with CMU blocks and will parge over the blocks once the construction has finished. The west wall (facing the alley) of the McGavren Block has also been removed. The back wall of all three storefronts was failing and is being replaced to provide stability for the entrances to the three apartments planned in the back third of the building. Masonry crews will begin to reconstruct the back wall of the space in the coming days. 

The VWCF focuses on creating a well-resourced and thriving quality of life for our community by supporting purpose, inspiring growth, and building the future. Van Wert Forward is focused on transforming quality of place in our downtown built environment. Questions about The Van Wert County Foundation and Van Wert Forward can be directed to Joel Germann,