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Crew works to install 2010 Winter Olympics tents before bad weather hits

December 1st, 2009 / By: / Industry News, Project Briefs

Timing is crucial not only for Olympic athletes, but also for those preparing for the
2010 Winter Games.

If there’s one thing the folks behind the 2010 Winter Olympics want, it’s snow. If there’s one thing the folks installing tents for the 2010 Winter Olympics don’t want, it’s snow.

“Beating the weather is a priority,” says Mindy McPherson, project manager for Karl’s Event Rental of Milwaukee, Wis., the main provider of tents for the games beginning Feb. 12, 2010. In late September, a crew of about 50 carpenters and tent installers were in the early building stages for mountain venues (with 250,000 of the 2.8 million square feet of tenting in place). “We’re trying to get as much structure and floor built before inclement weather,” McPherson said a few days after a sprinkling of snow.

“The staff and overlay managers have worked over the last couple months producing installation schedules,” says Keith Eismann, also managing the project in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. “They are taking into consideration multiple vendors, site access, weather conditions. It’s very complex.”

The largest tent—the dining hall measuring 45-by-95 meters—presents Karl’s with its most distinct challenges. Plumbing had to be “spotted” and concrete grease traps poured before installation of the floor, which includes carpet, linoleum and checker plate. Flooring sections were laid over and around plumbing, electrical and gas lines. Drywall had to be installed to section off cooking areas and to hide plumbing and electrical components.

“The schedule is super critical,” Eismann says. “Every supplier, whether it be Karl’s or plumbers or whatever vendors are working inside, it’s imperative that you are true to the schedule that’s set before you.” Planning meetings involve everyone. “Only we know how long it takes to do our tent and flooring. Only plumbers know how long it takes them,” Eismann says.

Karl’s has gained respect as the tent vendor for the last five Super Bowls, but the company could really score with the Olympics, especially, as Eismann points out, “with the expectations for the level of finish and knowing you are on a stage that everyone sees.

“The Super Bowl is a big deal for us. It’s seen by millions of people. But billions of people watch the Olympics.”

Janice Kleinschmidt is a freelance writer based in Palm Springs, Calif.

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