The roaring sound of a train whistle is familiar to people living in Lowellville. Tracks sit on both sides of 126 Water Street – a building that was once a general store and pharmacy in the early 1900s. Eventually, it became a furniture store in the 50s and 60s, and then the space turned into a warehouse for years.
In 2022, Ray Carlson bought the building. He also owns the pharmacy RC Outsourcing next door. The priority was to make renovations and use it as storage for the pharmacy. Then, other ideas came into play. The main floor was recently gutted to the wood frame and will be turned into a private social club.
Setting up main floor plans
“Joe” Dickey Electric is handling the electrical work for the job. Recessed lighting, wall sconces and chandeliers are planned for the inside, which includes wiring for a stage and sound booth. Rope lighting is also being installed around those areas.
Chris Phillips, project manager for Dickey Electric, says the project is a mix of incandescent and LED lighting. He says there is a lot of attention to detail in planning for this job.
“There are five circuits installed just for the stage alone,” Phillips said.
He says bands will be able to play and do recordings once the system is up and running. Phillips says the old electrical panel in the front of the room, as well as others inside the building, will be taken down.
“Everything will be relocated to the new operational panel in the basement,” Phillips said.
Configuring wire into the basement
He says all the wiring from the main level will go down in sections along the walls and into the basement. Those wires will then be gathered up and put through a conduit pipe across the ceiling to the main power panel.
“We had to make a lot of cheat tags, so we know what all the lines are going to,” Phillips said.
The crew didn’t want to put too many holes in the wood flooring, so that was another reason for running lines into the basement and connecting everything there. Phillips says experienced electricians were needed for this job.
“Someone potentially could’ve gotten hurt, had we not known what to do, how to do it and when. You wouldn’t want to just throw someone into a job like this,” Phillips said.
For instance, he says someone with less experience might have used wiring suited for a residential project than the better-quality wiring needed for this building.
Storage and surrounding areas
In the back of the building on the main floor is the storage area. The existing space was recently expanded, and Dickey Electric did some rewiring, demo work and put in LED lighting earlier this year. The area will eventually be home to personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies for RC Outsourcing.
There is work being done on the upper floors. Some bricks on the façade were not structurally sound, so they were repaired. New windows have also been installed.
Phillips says lighting will surround the outside of the building. A deck will be built off the back entranceway over a newly poured cement driveway. Wiring will run through the wall for lights out there.
Outside power obstacles
The driveway posed a bit of a challenge when it came to the outside power box. The position had to be adjusted to meet height requirements for the weather head that leads to the power lines on the street pole. Lightning rods also run underneath the concrete to the ground for protection during storms.
Phillips says there were no blueprints for this renovation. It’s about knowing the process, going by code for every idea and figuring out how to best make everything work.
“You need every tool in the arsenal working in a building like this because you have a little bit of masonry, some steel, a lot of wood. You’re kind of using everything you have available to you,” Phillips said.
No official date has been given for the work to be completed.
Dickey Electric is a member contractor of NECA-IBEW Electricians, an association of IBEW Local 64 in Youngstown, IBEW Local 573 in Warren and signatory electrical contractors throughout the Mahoning Valley.