Renovation: Growing & ‘Greening’ for the Future

In Uncategorized by couchiching

The office renovation is almost complete! This renovation will help us to be greener, grow for the future and make the workspace more efficient.

Giving thanks

First and foremost, sincere thanks to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for making this office renovation possible. This grant is matched by a legacy gift from Bill Grant, the original owner and steward of Grant’s Woods.

Ontario Trillium Foundation

Mr. William Grant

Next, a big thank you to the renovation committee. Members: David A. Homer, Kristi McKechnie, Don Scott, Ken Thomson, Bruce Duncan, Dorthea Hangaard and Mark Bisset. The committee worked hard on the application to the Ontario Trillium Foundation and are now working to ensure that the renovation runs smoothly and stays on its timelines.

Stay informed

To receive updates on the reno and a notice of when the property will be open again, please sign up for our e-newsletter – click here (we always respect your privacy and will never share your information. You have the option to unsubscribe at any time if needed).

The Plans

Grants Woods EntryClick here to see a detailed version of the office renovation plans

Drawings by K.McKechnie Architectural Design




It feels like we are in the final stretch! This is the time for the finishing touches inside, and the exterior work will begin.

Other upcoming work to do:

  • Building cabinets for the Community Room;
  • Tanya moves back to front of the office;
  • Research Interns move into back office;
  • Installing kitchen cabinets;
  • And many other ‘little’ things.


Progress in April

Board members painting

Work that happened this month:

  • Flooring throughout this section of the office (all level with the rest of the space);
  • Painting the walls and new trim;
  • Installing new trim;
  • Installing new accessible doors;
  • Removing half a wall and installing a countertop.




Grant's Woods RenoGrant's Woods Reno



March – springing back into action!

Construction has started again in the main office space. The wall between Mark’s old office and the Boardroom has been taken down to create one large Community Room. In order to make that happen, a cement footing had to be created under the building, a new post is connected to the footing and a new beam has been installed to handle the weight of the building (since the one wall has come down). Pictured below is the new beam being installed.

Installing New Beam In Community Room

The wall between Mark’s office and the Boardroom has come down to make one big Community Room

front view of office










Upcoming work to complete includes:

  • Building a new wall between the Community Room and kitchen/photo copier room as well as a new wall between the Community Room and Tanya’s office space;
  • Fixing some drywall;
  • Installing new windows that won’t let heat out;
  • Taking down the old trim;
  • And more!


February clean up & prep for next phase

The staff have fully moved into their offices and the geothermal heating system has been turned on. There is a slight lull in construction this month, but that’s a good thing. We need to clean out the “old” office space and move everything into the next section and storage area (and clean it first of course). The wall between Mark’s office and the old Boardroom will be taken down which will create a much larger Boardroom for meetings and community groups. A new wall will be put up between Tanya’s workspace and the Boardroom.

Here’s a few pictures from February:

Boardroom wall goneBob Omerond making our new display case


New Year & a new (partial) office!

January is here, and I’m very happy to report that the staff are back in the office and moved into the new section (which was the garage). Everything from the existing office had to be cleaned before moving day, as it was all covered in drywall dust and dirt! Flooring, painting and finishing touches are all completed in the front entrance and new offices. New cabinets will go in the front entrance, but for now the entrance is the temporary home for our kitchen, photocopier and other odds and ends. We’re getting there!

The staff have been working at home for the last one-two months, but are now able to be back in the office.

Next on the work plan for the office renos are to move the rest of the boxes and files from the Boardroom into the storage area and front entrance. Then construction will resume in ~March on the existing office space to take down one wall, put a new wall up, build a new kitchen, replace the old windows, do flooring and paint!

You can see more pictures on the reno on our Flickr account (click here to open in a new window), or click on the pictures on this page to see them in a larger format.

A look at the new setion of the office

Looking from Mark’s office, down the hall towards the old office.

Mark and Aiesha cleaning and moving files

Mark and Aiesha moving files


Taking shape in December

new offices being drywalledSound barrier between the office walls, insulation on the outside walls and dry walling are all happening in December. Pictured here shows the progress on the new offices.

You can click on the picture to see it full size.

The storage area (the old entrance) is also coming together with custom shelving (thanks Bruce!).

Construction crews are here every day moving things along. It is incredibly exciting to see everything transform before our eyes (and also it’s very loud).

 All of this work is a part of phase one – getting the new offices in the old garage built, the front entrance layout changed and more accessible and the storage area built. Phase two will mean having all of the staff move everything from the existing office and into the new offices in the old garage. Then, work begins on the main office space to create a larger boardroom/community room, move the kitchen and office supplies. Lastly, all of the finishing “stuff”.

We have had a lot of questions about when Grant’s Woods will re-open. The rough timeline is spring/summer 2016. The best option to stay informed is through our e-newsletter – our supporters get all of the important news first.

2015_12_8_ entrance

2015_12_14_Painting the entrance 2015_12_14_Painting the new offices (3)

2015_12_8_ offices

Volunteer Painters~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Things are moving in November!

Roof work at Grant's WoodsThe roofers are here to update and improve the roof in preparation for the solar panels that will be placed on the main section of the building. The roof will have metal sheeting instead of regular shingles. Lots and lots of noise here today! (Nov 10)

The front entrance, storage area and garage are being  insulated as well.

You can click on the picture to see it full size.


What’s going on in October?

Grant's Woods office during renovationsThe wells have now been dug and the next step is to do the get the wiring installed under the floors in the office. The full system will be installed where the furnace was.

Work on the updated bathroom continues and siding has been put up on the outside of the building.

(October 29 update).

You can click on the picture to see it full size.


Windows and Doors Arrive at Grant's WoodsNew windows and doors have arrived. This will keep the officer warmer all year long. The front door is now accessible and will have an automatic open button. All windows and doors are installed, and it looks wonderful. (October 27 update)

You can click on the picture to see it full size.


Geothermal wells are dug at Grant's WoodsWorks begins on digging wells for Geothermal heating which will replace the furnace. Four wells will be dug which will heat the entire office.

A quick explanation of how geothermal works: geothermal heating and cooling systems absorb heat stored in the ground through the water that circulates in its underground loop. This heat is carried to the ground source heat pumps where it’s concentrated and then sent as warm, comfortable air throughout your home. (from

Heating ducts are also being installed in the office at the same time as the well work. Things are looking very different around here! (Oct 13 update)

You can click on the picture to see it full size.


September Activities

Office Renovation - the new storage spaceWindows are gone from the front entrance and things are starting to take shape! This will be a new storage area (which was our front entrance before).

The offices in the garage are being framed and work on the front entrance continues.

You can click on the picture to see it full size.


August Activities

Tearing out the windowsMore changes to the office as volunteers literally rip apart the front entrance to make way for the new windows, a stronger roof and a storage space. This will help to keep the entrance warmer in the winter and make the entrance more functional.

You can click on the picture to see it full size.




Grant's Woods Construction is REALLY underwayThings are changing quickly at Grant’s Woods now. Scott Inc is on site working on the front entrance and garage. Two large holes have now been dug to to create the footings for the storage area, new entrance and converted garage office space.

You can click on the picture to see it full size.




Dorthea and Bruce look at the empty garageDorthea and Bruce take a look at the completely cleaned out garage – stewardship items, signs, wood, windows, event stuff…and the asbestos and insulation. Construction will start this Monday (Aug 17th) on the garage and front entrance. Staff will still be in the office.

You can click on the picture to see it full size.




We have passed the clean air test and the asbestos has all been removed! So very happy to feel that we have a safe and healthier workplace. Many thanks to Bruce and Alan who did most of the asbestos removal during some of the hottest days in July.


Things that happened in July

Ron and Tanya sorting through older filesRon Reid and Tanya Clark are going through the entire history of The Couchiching Conservancy. There were about 25 boxes of old files up in the attic that have now been sorted through.






Grants Woods Closed

The construction schedule has shifted a bit because of permits, but Dave has a smile on his face because this Trails Closed sign means that construction begins very soon!




Bruce and Alan ready for asbestos removal

Bruce Duncan and Alan Smale are all suited up and ready to remove some asbestos. There is asbestos in the attic and the furnace room. We’re all very happy that the office is being renovated so it will be safe for everyone that visits and works here.


The Boardroom is filling up

We’re trying to keep things organized while the renovation is happening. Shelving and labeling helps a lot while most of the items from the garage and front hallway are put into the Boardroom.


The Grant's Woods garage, all cleaned outThe garage has been cleaned out so that asbestos removal and old insulation can be removed. Contents have been moved into the Boardroom and the new workshop/shed.


Completed Workshop

Ohhh Ahhh…what a beautiful looking workshop/shed. Just needs some stain and it’s all ready!


What happened in June?

Alan Smale lends a hand with the Workshed

Alan Smale lends a hand to build the new workshop/shed. Thanks very much Alan for sharing your skills.


Here are some before pictures. The garage and front hallway have been out main storage areas and quasi store front. Items from the garage will be re-organized into the workshop/shed with better storage. We have also been getting rid of things that haven’t been used in years.

Grant's Woods garage before

Grant's Woods front entrance before

Grant's Woods garage before~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Things that happened in May

Ok, so we don’t have any pictures in May…but there was lots going on. The Renovation Committee has continued to meet frequently to get the permits ready and Bruce Duncan, our Renovation Coordinator has started work on the workshop/shed. Bruce has also been actively involved with clearing out the office. Three cheers for Bruce!


April Activities

Ian measures the pier points in our basement

Ian measures the pier points in our basement…and puts a hold in the floor in Mark’s office. Ian is a part of the team from Scott Inc.