During bidding, the feature was so unique, only one subcontractor was willing to “throw a number at it” — to the tune of $20,000.
Convinced that the number was exorbitant, Pinkard decided to self-perform the work. After all, we would just be running a length of rope through a series of eyelets, pulling the rope tight, and we’re done. We set aside one person to do the work in one day.
When it came time to construct the 70-foot long art piece, the installation procedures determined during the mock-up phase didn’t work: the rope wouldn’t slide through the eyelets, and tensioning the rope to the required specifications caused stainless steel eyelet bolts to completely strip and shoot out at an alarming velocity.
Senior PM Derek Stathis: “This installation was incredibly complicated. We had different colored climbing ropes that looped up and down within a steel frame, with the loops interconnecting to form a colorful waterfall pattern. But you can’t just weave it all at once and then tighten it. You have to put it through a top, loop it in the middle of the frame with another section of rope coming up from the bottom,
then pull it to the top; then use the come-along to tighten it; clamp it off; then do another loop. You can’t pull more than one at a time, because the eyelets are too small to let the rope slide freely. Our field engineer did it for a little bit, and he got blisters. We did this for 1,000 feet of rope.”
Ultimately, this one-man job required two carpenters two full weeks to complete, and it required several field modifications including the addition of carabiners to help the rope slide, and a rope safety system to eliminate risk of the eyelet bolts blowing out.
The completed rope wall is absolutely beautiful and the crown jewel of the center.