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22 December, 2000

Moving day! We did a little moving, but the big move came after lunch when our new building (the SPARCLE Palace) was delivered. In the morning we had to empty Penn's SPT building and the area around my office got a little full.

Because the snow was not firm enough for the crane to lift the building safely a D6 Cat with a large blade was called in to remove the loose drift and compact the surface.

It was very interesting to watch the Cat operator maneuver the machine in the confines imposed by the existing SPARCLE buildings and the border of the "Clean Air Sector" which is immediately to the right of where the tractor is seen in the image.

At about 1 PM we could see a crane and our building coming toward our humble corner of Antarctica. It was quite a procession to see. One that moved at a snails pace too.

While the D6 was preparing the pad for the crane the carpenters laid additional wood blocks to give the new building height above the snow surface and reduce the drifting that is associated with surface buildings.

With the crane pulled out of the way to allow the D6 to do its work I was able to get a nice picture of it with the Sun behind the boom.

Once the pad was ready, the crane got right to work with the help of about 6 people on the ground.

It was interesting to see the crane and the ground support work together in a well orchestrated manner. It was obvious to me that everyone involved in this process was very serious and very well skilled.

I was also amazed at the level of control that the crane operator had. He did everything, every motion with the most gentle touch. when the building was set down on the wood block foundation it was so smooth, you could hardly perceive the building moving.

Once the building was down and set on the blocks, but before the crane had pulled away or even been cut loose from the building the carpenters went to work putting on the finishing touches and the electricians moved in to hook up the main supply.

By 3:30 PM only two and a half hours after bringing the new building out on a sled and lowering it on to a foundation. We were able to begin moving in. Most of the stuff that had been stuffed back by my desk has been moved and tomorrow we will have the SPT window cut and we will be back in business.

Here you can see the proud new owners of the SPARCLE Place. No longer are we just a trailer park. Von and Steve Warren have been planning on this new facility for several years. Now they will be able to have graduate students winter over in a building that will be both warm and thermally efficient. The walls, roof, and floor are six inches thick blue board with wafer board on the inside and outside. There is also an inner industrial freezer door and a vestibule with a very thick wood door.

Once the crane made it to the actual location that the building was to be lowered, the driver checked the snow surface and found that it was too soft for him to do the job safety. He got fairly well bogged down in the "loose drift" that had blown into the area.

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