Built in the 1940s, rigging renovation of the Louis C. Cole Memorial Auditorium at Pennsylvania’s Edinboro University provided unique challenges to Chicago Flyhouse.

Flyhouse’s main charter was a complete renovation of the auditorium’s stage rigging, which included 24 counterweight line sets, a brail fire curtain system, five custom truss battens for acoustic shells with lighting positions, custom cable cradles for all lighting battens, and one front-of-house line shaft winch for a lighting pipe. Per the University’s request Flyhouse was able to adapt some of the existing rigging components into the renovation to help reduce costs.

Posing the greatest challenge was the installation of the auditorium’s 40 ft line shaft winch, which required placing lift lines through a detailed 1941 ceiling mural by New York City artist Alfred James Tulkon.

In addition to preserving the mural, Flyhouse was challenged to find access above the plaster ceiling into the structural area where the winch would be installed. The only access was a twisting path through the building structure that wound into closets, up ladders, into the ventilation system, through tiny hatches, around existing piping, over wooden planks above the ceiling, and through the roof trussing. To address this, the winch was designed to break into sections for travel, and was re-assembled once all the pieces were in place.

Despite these unusual challenges, Flyhouse completed the job on-time and on-budget. The winch lift lines penetrated the mural without damaging the artwork in any way, and required no post-installation touch ups or patching.

For more information about Edinboro University, visit their website.