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Redefining resilience

Installation Spotlight | December 1, 2021 | By:

In August 2021, Mississippi Tent & Party Rental, Madison, Miss., installed a field hospital to house an overflow of COVID-19 patients at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Miss. Photos courtesy of UMMC Communications.

Mississippi Tent & Party Rental installs a field hospital in a parking garage.

In August 2021, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state of Mississippi hard. As the virus spread rapidly throughout the region, the University of Mississippi Medical Center, located in Jackson, Miss., turned to Mississippi Tent & Party Rental for a solution to house an overflow of COVID-19 patients.

The medical center desired a field hospital on the bottom floor of its parking garage that could house 20 to 30 patients inside a controlled environment. It also required an offsite infusion treatment center clinic for patients who tested positive for the virus.

“The biggest challenge associated with this install was inventory,” says Lee Hutchinson, general manager of Mississippi Tent & Party Rental located in Madison, Miss. In line with other event rental companies around the country, Mississippi Tent experienced a large demand for special events during the summer and was gearing up for its largest August in company history. According to Hutchinson, the company had festivals on its calendar when the request from the medical center came in, but he made the decision to move forward with installing the field hospital.  

The tenting used was 2-inch west coast style frame tents without rafters and the sizes were 20 by 20 feet and 20 by 40 feet abutted together. “We were not able to install the ridge of the tents because of the height of the parking garage,” says Hutchinson. “By using this style tent, we were able to build a rigid eave and then use cabling to make sure the frame wouldn’t twist. The cabling also allowed us to support the tent top fabric.” 

In addition, Mississippi Tent utilized multiple 10-by-20-foot JT Lite systems from Aztec Tent and situated the tents between the beams of the garage. The company also installed a rapid deployment inflatable tent that would be used as a waiting area for patients who had received an infusion treatment. 

Other installation challenges included a tight turnaround time (four days), ensuring that the COVID-positive area stay sealed and dry, and keeping the HVAC system from overheating and tripping the breakers. “The HVAC units were not being able to vent enough and the ambient air temperature outside the tents was blazing hot,” recalls Hutchinson. Being located on the bottom of a parking garage meant that the tents and HVAC units were surrounded by concrete walls and vinyl extending to the ceiling. The solution involved the utilization of fans to circulate cooler air in and push warmer air away from the units. 

According to Hutchinson, the project resulted in approximately 4,700 square feet of tenting as well as flooring, lighting, doors, ballast and more than 60 tons of HVAC. “With the amount of time we had to install, our team was pleased. But we have plenty of ideas on how to make it better if we have to mobilize again.” 

SIDEBAR: By the numbers

4,700 square feet of tenting and flooring

More than 60 tons of HVAC

Four days to complete installation

Average of eight crew members onsite

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