Carpenters staging furniture before replacing carpet at NCSA.

Carpenters, Painters, Laborers Take the Stage

Carpenters, painters, and laborers replaced much of the carpeted flooring on the second, third, and fourth floors at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) building.

It was an important task in a big location and came with unique challenges.


F&S labeled every chair, table, and computer by its office number. Once removed, carpenters and laborers could ensure each piece of furniture go back to the room it belongs. Materials were strategically stored in the basement, leaving room for exits.

“We accomplished this in order so things weren’t done twice,” said carpenter foreperson Bob Weeks. “Even moving furniture can take a long time when you consider you have to remove it from the room, keep track of it, and put it back. We don’t want to move it and then have to move it again. So staging is incredibly important. And that leads into the painting, too. If you grind the leftover glue from the floor, that causes dust. We only want to bring up dust once, if at all possible, meaning we need to pull up the carpeting from the corridors and surrounding offices all at the same time on a floor.”

Although NCSA doesn’t have a lot of “teaching” space, it comes with plenty of challenges across all four floors. Many offices are relatively small and filled with furniture, often for two office inhabitants. In other words, NCSA is very dense with stuff.

F&S deals with stuff.


National Center for Supercomputing Applications building.

“It’s a big project,” said Weeks. “Working through F&S is economically feasible. We can do ordering processes through the Illinois Public Higher Education Cooperative, which allows us to order directly from the manufacturer, have it shipped, and guarantee a consistent—likely, a lower—price for anything we need for the project.”


Weeks led a collaborative team. Decision-making funneled through one, instead of many heads of shops potentially complicating matters.

“I can be the main contact for all aspects of this project, from the painting, the flooring, the project management, and work done by the laborers shop,” Weeks said. “We started on the fourth floor, which we gauged being the most difficult, and then once we completed that floor, our guys picked up on little details to most efficiently accomplish work on each floor under there.”