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Tenting around a flag pole

Installation Spotlight, News | October 1, 2018 | By:

A flagpole that would complicate installation was one of several challenges AAble Rents faced in providing tents for an event on Cleveland’s Whiskey Island. Photos courtesy of AAble Rents.

Elevation, weight and obstructions all factor into a complicated installation at a recently restored site.

When organizers of the Prayers from Maria fundraiser suggested a new location for the annual event—the recently restored Old Coast Guard Station on Whiskey Island in Cleveland, Ohio—Ramsey Duqum’s answer was simple: No.

Owner and CEO of AAble Rents of Cleveland, Duqum was skeptical about installing tents at the site where the Cuyahoga River meets Lake Erie. A primary concern was that the city would end up not permitting the installation due to its weight, as the island is composed of backfill. Offering only a single-lane road in and out, the station is covered with obstructions, including hedges and a large flagpole.

But having worked with the organization for a number of years, Duqum was persuaded to consider the possibilities.

He began meeting with organizers in March, but insisted that the installation be approved by the city before putting time and effort into the design. That took until May.

“We’ve never had a permit approved this early, two and a half or three months before the install,” Duqum says. “I didn’t want to have any issues with the weight.”

Duqum proceeded with a meticulous CAD process for accommodating the flagpole at the site, laying out the installation of a 25-by-40-meter Anchor/Röder structure combined with a 20-by-5-meter structure in an eave-under-eave design, due to a major slope drop-off on one of the legs.

“I pulled up Anchor’s eave ridge and small purlin schematics; then I transposed all of those into an exact elevation and scale-correct skeleton that I overlaid to a PartyCAD 25-meter building so that I had the elevation profile correct,” he says.

“I used beams and poles within PartyCAD to build out the skeleton of it exactly, where all the purlins and eaves fell, their elevations down the beams. And then I decided exactly where I wanted the flagpole to penetrate the roof down to the half-inch.”

Adding the flagpole into the CAD design, Duqum determined the height of the flagpole where it would break the plane of the roof.

“Then I had the park service provide me a bucket truck, and they boomed me up to measure the circumference of the pole at that height,” he says.

“We had to decide which direction to pull the vinyl in, because we must split it,” he continues. “I decided I wanted to pull to penetrate the exact mid-seam of a 5-meter panel to make it easy, and I chose 6¼ inches from the eave, so it fell as close to the center eave as possible.”

Next, he handed over the CAD and measurements to Anchor Industries Inc. for the custom panel.

“And they built it exactly correct,” he says. “They always make our crazy things happen.”

The build plan was just as detailed: First, two crew members pre-staked and placed two semitruck loads of
ballasting blocks.

“Because we couldn’t get our semis down that causeway, the Tent OX™ became invaluable because it drove all those tons of concrete back and forth from the mainland to the island.”

The actual build required 14 hours with a crew of nine—more than normal, Duqum says, “but this had to be perfect.”
Inside the tent, the flagpole was disguised with a four-wall screen, hiding the many hours of work required to
accomplish this event, which raises money for research on childhood glioma, a form of brain cancer.

“The people did not realize until the emcee said on stage, ‘By the way, there is a flagpole going right through this tent,’ and people looked up through the clear fabric,” Duqum says. “There are 650 people under this tent, and you can hear the ‘Oh my gosh’ and ‘Oh wow’ when they looked up.”

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