When staking wasn’t possible, L&A Event Rentals preserved safety by having the proper ballast.
When the University Medical Center of Princeton in Plainsboro, N.J., was
ready to open its doors to the community, it called on L&A Event Rentals to oversee the tented event. The grand opening for the
facility that provides state-of-the art medicine and technology, disease prevention and education
opened May 12, 2012—and the amount of ballast needed to safely secure the tent turned out to be
twice the expected amount.
For the medical center’s grand opening, the client requested that no stakes be driven into the
new parking lot, which meant that half of the 60-by-180-foot Eureka! E!Span™
structure required ballast. “The 60-by-180-foot E!Span was the largest we had ever erected,” says
Greg Hamer, sales manager for L&A Event Rentals. “And up until this event we had never used
ballasts for an E!Span structure.”
To determine the proper amount of ballast, L&A Event Rentals relied partially on the Ballasting of Commercial Tents
project, a study initiated by IFAI Tent Rental Division (TRD) and conducted by Clemson University, Clemson, S.C. Based on the
study’s findings, TRD is creating a tool to calculate the required ballast weights to meet the loads
provided by the manufacturers, including factors such as ballast configuration, ballast type and
“Previous to the IFAI ballasting study, we believed 3,000 pounds per upright would be
sufficient,” says Hamer. “But after discussing the study results with Jim Reyen, Eureka!’s national
sales and marketing manager and past chair of TRD, and Eureka!’s Matt Hamilton Jones, it was
determined that 6,000 pounds would be needed to meet the manufacturer’s suggested safety
L&A Event Rentals had concrete ballasts and weight plates specifically designed and manufactured
for the structure. To improve the aesthetics of the concrete ballasts, Fred’s Tents, Stillwater, N.Y., manufactured
vinyl covers for the weights.
In addition to the main tent, L&A Event Rentals provided a 40-by-80-foot Eureka! Twin Tube®
frame tent, several other small ancillary frame tents, more than 300 feet of marquee walkway tents,
and flooring and carpeting.
While the grand opening was the main event, the medical center had four more events scheduled to
take place under the tents within a three-week period. Changing weather conditions required L&A
Event Rentals to add items—including marquees and walls—for cool and rainy weather, and later remove
them when they were no longer needed.
The client hired Feats Inc., Baltimore,
Md., to provide a decor that acted as a soothing backdrop for the event’s star—the medical center
and its capabilities to provide health services to the community. The medical center worked with
Feats to install plasma screens and video projections that entertained and informed guests. To
diffuse the sunlight shining behind the stage, L&A Event Rentals installed a beige taffeta gable
Approximately 6,000-7,000 people walked through the tents over the three-week period. “The event
was well planned by all involved,” says Hamer. “And it provided great exposure for our company.”