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True Tales of Planning Terror

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by Chris Chapman, Mar 4, 2009.

  1. Chris Chapman

    Chris Chapman Active Member

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    Occupation:
    Technical Director
    Location:
    Greenville, Michigan, United States
    So we are past 11 years of operation in our SIngle Purchase COunterweight space. After several PMI's it is the recommended time to start changing out hand lines.

    Now, this isn't a huge expense in the grand scheme of things. It's not like installing new line sets, but it is going to run into a couple of grand.

    So I KNOW that my facilities manager does not have this on his radar or on ANY maintenance budget. So I go to my SuperIntendant to start the thinking process rolling on the Admin side. (A 20 year plan was submitted to Admin 4 years ago that detailed rigging lifetime change outs, as well as lighting and sound system change outs.)

    Well, there is no many anywhere. And I bring up the point that this is a major safety issue and with bad hand lines we will be putting students lives at risk eventually.

    The grand reply is, "Well, we might have to shut you down for a year until we can find the money."

    My jaw hits the floor and I am rendered speechless. My admin is seriously considering shutting my Performing Arts Venue down because they don't have the money for facility maintenance and upgrade.

    The search for emergency grants goes into high gear.

    Add your true tale of Facility Planning Terror in a reply:
     
  2. theatretechguy

    theatretechguy Member

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    Anytime you bring up the subject of "liability" and "student safety" and "potential loss of life", those are words Admins don't want to hear. Woodshops get closed and cancelled when there's no money to install the proper safety devices. As much as we think of them as so much more, Administrators view a theatre as just another classroom. If there's no money, it's not unreasonble to think that your venue may be shut down.

    I would speak to your Maint dept and see if there are options to have that kind of work done as "deferred maintenance". Speak to head of Maint/Facilities about it, they often have money set aside for these kinds of matters.
     
  3. len

    len Well-Known Member

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    Not having been in an educational, institutional or governmental situation in many many years I can't really offer much advice beyond:

    "This needs doing, and it will cost roughly $XX, and I have already written this RFQ so we can start accepting bids as soon as I get your authorization to send it over the purchasing."

    1. I never ask for permission, I act as if it's a foregone conclusion they will say yes.
    2. I act like this is no big deal.
    3. I do all the work I can before I talk to the one(s) who can say "no" don't have the excuse that they don't have time.
     
  4. beachcombah15

    beachcombah15 Member

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    Although I cant think of anything off of the top of my head, I will say, DONT LET THEM SHUT IT DOWN! With the way to economy is looking these days, it could end up being ALOT longer than a year before they have sufficient funds for this

    These days around here, there are no programs being added, no expensive upgrades being made (except for a new $300,000 stadium football/soccer field renovation/resodding.) to any of the facilities. It's all cutbacks; Our school board just approved a $700,000 budget cut for the next fiscal year between our middle and high school. If there is any money that I want to get for rentals, upgrades etc, I either have to do a whole lot of sucking up to the department heads of departments that have money or raise it myself.
     
  5. derekleffew

    derekleffew Resident Curmudgeon Senior Team Premium Member

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    Not to diminish the severity of the safety of the situation, but this appears to be either a case of either playing too high a card, or the boy who cried wolf.
     
  6. Footer

    Footer Senior Team Senior Team Premium Member

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    Location:
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    If it makes you feel any better my district is projecting to cut 70 Million from next years budget.

    Now to the OP...

    The guy that had my job before me shut down the theatre on campus his first day. Apparently the place had the rigging from hell. I have a dog collar on my bulletin board that was supporting a load. They closed down the theatre as they should have. It then took year to cut through the bid process to get new rigging put in. So, yes, you can go nuts and get them to shut it down. If you have to do it for the space to be safe, do it. Otherwise, buy 500 ft of multiline II and switch out the ropes that are the worst off, most companies should be able to do that for you. What type of hand line is currently being used?
     
  7. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    Occupation:
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    Have you had a professional inspection? Life of rope is highly variable. It could be that you only need to replace a couple of lines. It could also be that you are in terribly dangerous situation and need to be shut down right now. Start with getting an inspection.

    I don't want to minimize the situation and should be pushing for replacement. But until you get a full pro inspection you don't have the full picture. There are many facilities out there that have ropes in use beyond the recommended life. Is it dangerous? Depends on what the inspector says. In my personal facility, based on the type of rope, climate, and type of use I've been told, BY A REAL RIGGING INSPECTOR, that I can go well beyond the typical replacement life. Get that inspection and give the report to the district.

    Second thought... you are in a school right? Talk to the principle about the status of the end of the year use or loose budget. Often there is money that goes unused and get's sent back to the district at the end of the year. Have a bid all worked out on a per lineset basis. Get what you can from the principle and fix a few lines. Next year get a few more done.
     
  8. Chris Chapman

    Chris Chapman Active Member

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    Occupation:
    Technical Director
    Location:
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    I rotate through different rigging compaanies for my PMI's, which we do every 2 years. On the last inspection it was recommended that the hand lines need to be looked at and possibly replaced by the next inspection. All 30 linesets don't need it, just my electrics, main, and orchestra shells (which is about 15 lines).

    The OP was a vent, basically. I'm in the process of getting quotes for the change out, but it is hand lines only. Lift lines, tension and loft blocks are all good. I take care of my rigging. :) We are looking t wear and tear and rope lifespan. All of it is synthetic too. I can't remember off the top of my head what kind.
     
  9. gafftaper

    gafftaper Senior Team Senior Team Fight Leukemia

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    The good news is that it is synthetic. If you are not in an unusual climate AND you keep your system properly weighted, the only factor causing your lines to wear is use. So, lines that you rarely use can last a lot longer than the expected life.* If funds are so tight, every year just pick a few of the worst lines and have them fixed. There has to be a way to squeeze $500 out of the budget somewhere.

    *ALWAYS have your lines regularly inspected and listen to the professional report. Don't just assume, "I haven't used this line in years" it doesn't need to be replaced.
     
  10. Sayen

    Sayen Active Member

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    Location:
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    This isn't a unique problem - a school in a city south of me went through this a few years back, and their district just shut the auditorium down when the teacher pushed too far for an inspection/repair. That unfortunately only encourages teachers to take shortcuts and not repair things, as too many people would rather believe "The show must go on!" instead of paying attention to safety.

    I'm assuming you've approached your principal? Call other technical teachers in the district for support? Replacing only a few linesets is a good idea - you should also be able to get an inexpensive inspection if the inspector is told you only need the physical ropes checked, although that means cutting corners. Try the local PTA/PTO for money? Make sure the school knows you're headed to them for funds and making the problem public before you actually do it, but depending on where you live those folks can be loaded.
     

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