W.A. Coolidge Company is a full service construction company serving the Seacoast of New Hampshire, Maine, and Northern Massachusetts. The owners, Wayne A. Coolidge and Wendy A. Wentworth Coolidge have been partners for over 30 years. We specialize in high quality residential and commercial building, renovations, and restorations.
The Coolidge Company is about flexibility, innovation, and results. Our company will focus on your precise wishes in order to deliver cost-effective solutions to any project. We strive to offer superior quality by using and overseeing the best and reliable subcontractors and suppliers in the area. We believe that every project that we undertake will be completed within a timely fashion as if it was our personal home. We offer first class craftsmanship and attention to detail from start to finish. We want to make your dream project a reality along with providing a fun and memorable experience.
Built-ins can be transforming, like how these built-in bookcases bring an elegant ambience to this sitting room. (Rye, NH)
By: Wayne Coolidge
In 1982, a year after getting married, money was tight (aka – we had none). So, I put college on hold to get a real job and pay bills, while Wendy continued her schooling. My mom used her chiropractic practice connections and got me hired by the Laborers Union to work at the Seabrook Nuclear plant.
At the Laborer’s Union presentation on the first night of work, I was told that I would be a tender. The instructor gave me two black stripes and showed me how to place them on my red hard hat. While most laborers went on to have successful careers sweeping floors, I was assigned to an eight-man carpenter crew in Containment #2. At the time, little did I know how that would shape my future.
I was escorted to my assignment and introduced to my crew. Once the formalities were complete, one of the carpenters immediately said, “I have your first job. Go to the tool crib and get us a ‘rebar stretcher’”. I asked what a tool crib was. I was told it was the shack just outside the containment building ramp where you sign out tools. To begin the shift, you sign out tools that are needed for the task at hand, and at the end of the shift, you return them. But right now, they needed a rebar stretcher. So, off I went…
When I got to the tool crib, I asked the attendant for a rebar stretcher. He said, “Are you new here?” I replied, “Yes sir, first night at work.” “Well, unfortunately someone else already signed out the ‘rebar stretcher’,” he said, “you should go try at the tool crib at Containment #1.”
I received the same response from the Containment #1 tool crib attendant. He said to try the tool crib at the PAB building. That guy said to try the tool crib at the pumping station. That guy said to try the tool crib at the south side tool crib…
Later, as I was walking to the north side tool crib, I overheard a Gold Hat (which I learned was the ultimate supervisor) scolding two red hatted laborers and saying, “You don’t have permission to be here – get back to your area.” Hmm, he didn’t say a word to me as I nodded when I walked by him. Seems those two black stripes gave me accessibility to anything, anywhere.
I would like to say that the light bulb went on in my head as I continued my now two-hour search for a rebar stretcher – but that would be a lie. Upon visiting the final tool crib on the outskirts of the property, my search was unsuccessful. Do you know how big the Seabrook Nuclear plant site is? I had to look it up. 900 acres. OMG, except for the parking lot and the educational portion of the property, I covered that entire area.
When I returned to my crew, the same carpenter asked, “Where have you been for the past four hours?” “Trying to get the rebar stretcher for you,” I said. “Well, did you get one?” he questioned with a twinkle in his eye. “No, sorry,” I said dejectedly, “all the tool cribs were out of them.” Which led to belly laughter from the entire crew and foreman. “Welcome to the Brook kid!”
Was the joke really on me? I got a four-hour tour of the property, found out the power of my black stripes, and became friends with the tool crib community. Plus, I got paid for doing it!
Footnote #1. After the Brook closed in ’84, I began my first construction company with the foreman of that carpenter crew as my partner. We even subbed a few jobs off a couple of our fellow carpenters.
Footnote #2. Every time that I get a ‘newbie’ working with us, the first thing I do is send them to the trailer to get my board stretcher!
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Hidden Treasure: Renovation Project
You never know what you will discover hidden under a ceiling, floor, or in a wall during construction. Like this home, imagine how delighted the owners were to find beautiful beams hidden in the ceiling, which we incorporated into the new ceiling!
Tip of the Month: August
Consider a rollout desk for a home office or project space. The perfect solution to gain extra space when needed, but also able to be tucked out of the way when you don’t. A rollout desk allows you to double your counterspace or add another workspace for a second person.