Larsen Family Dental, a thriving dental practice in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin had outgrown its initial building – the space was dated, too small, posed significant encumbrances on workflow, and only offered street parking. Patients appreciated the convenience a downtown location offered, so owner Andrea Larsen set out to find a property that would allow her to keep the practice downtown, while providing the infrastructure to better serve her businesses’ needs. She found it in a beautiful, old, abandoned building that originally housed the offices of a shoe factory. The downside? The 3,316 square foot building was nearly 100 years old and would require extensive modifications.
Her next challenge was to find a contractor with the necessary skills and workforce to tackle the project – and she found just that in Silvercrest Construction. Silvercrest Construction has an established relationship with her architect, Nolan Carter Architectural Design, and her dental equipment supplier. Silvercrest Construction also has an extensive track record of successfully completing many other difficult commercial remodeling projects. Additionally, Silvercrest Construction could self-perform many challenging aspects of the project, helping keep costs in line with the budget.
To begin, Silvercrest Construction crews demolished the interior of the building all the way down to the brick and steel structure. The new floor plan required moving almost all the interior steel structural columns for the floor and roof systems. And, the floor joist support structure needed to be raised and strengthened to level the floors after decades of sagging and settling. Complicating matters further was the fact that there was no way to access the back of the building with machinery, because of the building’s location. Silvercrest Construction was up to the task – utilizing its own labor force to strip the interior down to its bones, a tireless work effort which eventually filled four large dumpsters, one wheelbarrow at a time.
Next, Silvercrest Construction crews custom fabricated new structural steel columns and beams to transfer a load of several tons from the existing building structure. Silvercrest Construction’s certified welders expertly cut thousands of pounds of old iron and replaced it with new. Throughout the process, extra measures were taken to minimize the risk of fire, a severe hazard especially in very old and extremely dry buildings.
After the new steel columns and beams were in place, crews used hydraulic jacks to raise the floor structure from the crawl space to correct decades of sagging and settling. Additional blocking and steel shims were installed to further level the floor.
Working from extension ladders, crews worked to repair the two and a half stories of cracked and separated masonry walls, and to install replacement windows and new soffits.
The building also needed to be brought into compliance with ADA regulations, a challenge given the building’s age and historic value—the building owners and the city didn’t want to alter the exterior of the historic building. To solve this, the architect drew up a plan to place a large window in the restroom, with privacy film to obscure the view from the outside. Then, a custom-made handrail was installed to bridge the window, meeting the requirements for handicap accessibility, while preserving the original “bones” of the building.
In just seven months, the dental practice could move into their beautiful new offices—with a great downtown location and all the benefits of a “new” building, but with the historic allure of a community landmark. New patient operatories and equipment help the staff work more efficiently, while reducing maintenance overhead. New mechanical equipment, LED lighting, and high-performance insulation lower operational costs; while new finishes throughout and a private parking lot with handicap accessibility offer a first-class experience for patients.
Other project partners included: