Harral fly system upgraded

PLAINVIEW -- Wayland Baptist University’s Harral Memorial Auditorium is receiving a face lift, so to speak. Although the casual audience member may never see or appreciate the backstage work that is being done, they will benefit from a safer more professional environment.

The backstage area in the auditorium is being refitted with a new fly system used to control and maintain the onstage curtains and lighting systems. The project will cost approximately $150,000 to complete.

The auditorium had been operating with the original fly system that was installed in the mid 1970s. Wayland technical theatre director and auditorium supervisor Chris Moore said the old system was beginning to show its age.

“The lines hadn’t been replaced and it was becoming a safety concern because it was getting old,” Moore said.

Wayland ordered the new fly system from Texas Scenic, one of only a handful of companies who supply these products nation wide. A representative from Texas Scenic informed the school that the girder supporting the old counterweight system would have to be upgraded in order to support the new system.

Moore said the school contracted with a group in Levelland to replace the existing girder with a new, roughly 38 foot long, 22-inch wide, 8,000 pound steal beam that had to be bracketed to the existing steal reinforced concrete walls in the auditorium.

“It was a beast,” Moore said. “They had to make a special dolly for it because we couldn’t even get it in the building. Each caster on the dolly was a 2,000-pound caster and they spread out five of those just in case the beam weighed more than (8,000 pounds).”

The group wheeled the beam onto the stage, cut the old beam out, opened a 2 foot square hole in the roof for a crane to lower its cable and lifted the new beam into place.

With the beam in place, it will now take Texas Scenic about a week to install the new counterweight fly system, including all new rigging and cables.

“We are getting all new stuff except for the curtains,” Moore said.