Going up

Elevator shaft nears completion inside Old Stoney


August 8, 2019

Had everything gone to the original plan, Old Stoney would be about ready to open its doors this month as a new attraction for Crook County. But while the elevator has proven a stubborn beast to install, the good news is that things haven’t fallen too far behind schedule.

“They’re moving forward fast – it’s happening fast now,” says Museum Director Rocky Courchaine.

“We won’t know until it’s done, though, if the new theory has worked.”

The new theory in question has to do with the troublesome elevator shaft. After encountering problems digging down far enough due to the shallow footers of the building, contractors then found that the ground was too wet to pour cement.

“They have diverted the water in order to pour the floor and the walls,” Courchaine says.

To do this, and thus counter the problem of trying to work below groundwater level, contractors have dug a large pit inside Old Stoney so the water can be pumped out of the elevator shaft area and diverted outside of the building.

“The ground floor now is dry and the pit is where it’s all running,” he says. “When they get it poured, they will abandon the pump and the water should flow back around the elevator pit.”

Once the installation is complete, the idea is that the water will once again settle.

“The walls of the elevator and the floor of the elevator shaft are pretty well waterproof, so when they let the pump die, the water will just go around it,” he says.

Two thirds of the floor for the elevator has already been poured and the remainder will be poured very soon, says Courchaine.

“If they can pour this other section within the next week or so, it will be sealed,” he says.

Most of the remaining work for the rejuvenation project is on the basement floor, Courchaine says.

“Everything else is so close, it really all depends on this elevator. Once they get this floor sealed and poured, they can finish doing the other half of the basement, so we’ll have the archival storage on the north side and then on the south side is the mechanical room,” he explains.

“Once this is poured, everything is stable and they can finish flooring. They just finished the window wells for the venting system on the east side; the landing for the stairwell and fire escape on the east side are done, ready to put the fire escapes in. Once they get the south end of the basement poured, they can pour this other window well and then do the big sidewalk that wraps around it.”

The flooring must also be replaced on the basement level.

“The museum level floors are done, except for where the elevator is, so they’ve just got to put their plywood up there and paint it,” Courchaine says. “It’s so close, all the way around.”

Meanwhile, Courchaine himself has been working around the construction to prepare the entry floor to house the county museum.

“The courtroom exhibit is painted, the schoolhouse exhibit wall is painted and textured and I’ll be working on the Native American/natural history side – I’m experimenting with the wall,” he grins.

“I want to incorporate our red dirt into the walls.”

The estimated finish date is now mid- to end of November, though Courchaine is hopeful this date will fall back once the elevator is in and the work already done begins to come together.


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