Gorman Heritage Farm was interested in reinforcing the second floor of the existing two story Rabbit House in order to finish it into office space. Evendale structural engineering firm, Schaefer, was asked to prepare a preliminary design of the required reinforcing that a contractor estimated to cost $50,000, which was beyond the Farm’s means. Instead, Schaefer’s team members volunteered to do the work, and asked other Evendale firms to donate the construction materials necessary to complete it.

As part of the project, Schaefer volunteers added a concrete column and footing, and two new, steel beams in the basement to provide additional support for the first floor. The group added wood columns and beams to strengthen the second floor, and a stud wall and ceiling joists at the second floor to reinforce the existing wood roof framing. With the structure reinforced, the building was ready for the Gorman Heritage Farm team to add windows to the second floor and install the interior finishes.

Co-op student Adam Baur add collar ties to the wood roof joists on the second floor.

Groups of four volunteers worked four hour shifts at the Rabbit House; Schaefer completed the project in eleven shifts taking place between March 26-April 13. The Farm intends to use the basement to house livestock, the first floor ​will become a space for volunteer​s ​and increased storage, and the ​newly created ​second floor ​will become staff offices​.​ The building will also have heating and air conditioning for the first time!

Structural engineer Kathryn Grant measures lumber for the project.

Volunteers installed a wood stud wall on the second floor.

As Schaefer’s Cincinnati office will soon relocate downtown, the team was happy to partner with an Evendale organization to make a positive impact on the community it has called home for the last two decades.

Thank you to the firms who contributed all of the building materials need to strengthen the building: Nisbet Brower, SRM Concrete, Riverfront Steel, SMART Building Supply, Contractors Materials Company and Middle-West Concrete Forming.

By showing the support it received from the business community, Gorman Heritage Farm was awarded a grant of $25,000 to pay for the electrical, air conditioning, heating and interior finish work needed to complete the project.

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