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Can Ft. Sill Apache Casino survive strong winds?

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May 6, 2009

LAWTON - After the tent-structured building at the Dallas Cowboys practice facility collapsed last week from strong winds, engineered fabric buildings across the country are being inspected again as OSHA investigates the cause of the failure.

The Fort Sill Apache Casino in Lawton installed their tent in 2007 and intended it to be a permanent facility. Casino officials said the outer shell should last at least 8 to 10 years, and up to 15. They say it is repairable and replaceable, and surprisingly resilient.

Mark Dube is the director of planning, development and construction of the casino. He said "The tent is made of a fabric. It's a vinyl type of fabric similar to that of a heavy tarp covering a semi. It's fastened to the building, basically stretched over the building and held in place."

The dozens of massive prefabricated pieces of vinyl are secured by 4 inch by 4 inch steel tube beam trusses every 15 feet, and attaché with steel truss cords and cables bolted in like a bridge.

Canadian Manufacturer Cover All makes the vinyl, which is the same used at the Cowboys practice facility. However, a different company designed the building. That company is Vision Building Systems which inspects the entire tent annually, for rips, tears, signs of wear, and fatigue.

Dube says the casino can withstand winds of 120 miles-per-hour. Oklahoma wind code is 80 miles-per-hour.

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