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Back to Life August 31, 2012

Posted by Tom Wells in Tom's Posts.

To some it may have seemed that I had disappeared from the world. My last entry here on August 4th was the last time I had the luxury of time.  And for the past three weeks I have been working non-stop fourteen hours and more a day trying to get two new school projects approved by the Division of the State Architect (DSA). State government seldom works on logic and my August 31st deadline to have these projects approved or loose bond funding for them is a prime example.  To achieve this however, I have worked nights and weekends ceaselessly to put together the plans and the details that could be approved by reviewers for seismic, fire, and life safety, standards and to ensure the projects are fully accessible.

There is a mind-boggling amount of detail that must go into the plans for school projects like these two. Our project teams had mechanical, electrical, structural, and civil engineers along with a landscape architect, sound attenuation consultants, soils engineers and more all coordinated through me as the project architect.  The plans for one of the projects is 250 sheets, which measures over an inch thick of 24 inch by 36 inch paper.

To my wife and kids, I have been like  a casual acquaintance who has come to visit in the evenings.  My wife has had to pick up the responsibilities of making sure the kids start their school year off right. She brought me lunches at my desk. She even had to drive down to work on a Sunday night to bring me some changes of clothes for my travels because I was too busy scrambling to even have time to go home for that. She also only got a midnight exchange of gifts from me on our 19th wedding anniversary last week.

All of this effort culminated this week with a marathon review of the projects at the DSA Oakland and San Diego offices where we poured over the plans for ten hours a day with the reviewers.  We checked to see that every connection was secure. We checked to see that every fire regulation was followed. We checked to see that people in wheel chairs, the blind and the deaf could get around everywhere in the facility.  Even a walk in freezer had to have the interior clear area for a wheelchair to maneuver in.  In the end, both projects were approved and my deadline was met with one day to spare.

I had a luxurious six hours of sleep last night and I get to stay home all weekend with my wife and kids for the first time in nearly month.  And in a couple of years, I will get to go walk the halls of some brand spanking new school buildings that I can take satisfaction in having been a part of bringing to life.


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