Monday night’s Opening Ceremonies of the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships at Championships Plaza at Solaris will be a proud moment for Deputy Fire Chief Mike McGee and other members of the Vail Fire Department. The transformation of Solaris into the entertainment venue for the Championships has involved careful coordination by the department.
Structural load calculations for the second floor balcony at Solaris were confirmed to ensure the additional weight of the lighting and stage would be within limits. Even the Audi on display was considered as part of the plan. It was set on the balcony with a crane. Scaffolding plans were reviewed and the installation was inspected by a structural engineer.
The configuration of the Solaris Plaza will change slightly after the Opening Ceremonies to accommodate the concert stage. The plaza has a capacity of about 4,000 people. The venue from Solaris to Checkpoint Charlie has a capacity of approximately 7,000 to possibly 8,000 people.
Familiarizations tours have been conducted for fire personnel and pre-response plans have been formulated in preparation for the activities.
The Solaris Residences and commercial space Life Safety Plan was designed under a concept known as "performance based engineering." The type of construction, the use of various spaces, the arrangement of the exits, occupant loads, length and width of corridors, including the exterior plaza, were all evaluated, according to McGee. Specific fire detection, mechanical systems, fire sprinkler systems, and related building infrastructure were designed and installed to strict criteria.
The Fire Department's role in conjunction with the Town of Vail Building Department in helping ensure life safety includes checking these various systems, conducting inspections, assessing general conditions, and reviewing plans and procedures with building engineering staff, management and event coordinators.
Deputy Chief McGee says the property is in good shape, plans, procedures and systems are all up ad running as designed and we are as NASA would characterize it in "All systems GO" status.