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Playground shade sails protect patients

Projects | August 1, 2023 | By:

After: Three overlapping shade sails now shade the playground and seating area.
Awning Works Inc. replaced one big drooping shade sail with three overlapping ones above the playground and seating area at the Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa, Fla. Photos: Awning Works Inc.

Could there be a more feel-good project than one that gives a little bit of joy to children being treated (or having completed treatment) for cancer?

“We have been working with the Children’s Cancer Center [in Tampa, Fla.] for many years to make repairs to a very old shade sail that was stretching and pulling down the posts,” says Janice Stockard, brand marketing and sales executive at Awning Works Inc., of Clearwater. “The sagging fabric was almost as low as the playground equipment, which is against code. We have fixed the tensioning for the corners where the sail attached to the posts and wall plates. We restitched and strengthened the fabric. … We also had to re-foot a couple of the posts with concrete and rebar.”

Before: The playground and seating area had one big drooping shade sail previously.

In 2022 Awning Works gave the organization the option of using three overlapping shade sails instead of one large one. “That added more sun protection because we were able to widen the sail—getting it closer to the walls,” Stockard explains.

The playground area covered was 68 feet by 66 feet. One sail was 45 feet, 10 inches. The other two sails were 21 feet, 7 inches by 27 feet, 9 inches.

“Through long hours of work, [Awning Works has] made an immediate difference in the lives of children and families battling pediatric cancer,” says Patty O’Leary, CEO of Children’s Cancer Center

The nonprofit’s work is dear to Awning Works’ employees. Children’s Cancer Center has served more than 20,000 children and family members, it reports, with free programming such as art and music therapy, counseling, family fun events, and big buddy mentors for siblings of children diagnosed with cancer or a blood disorder. The nonprofit is funded by donors and business partners and was founded in 1974. 

Project name

Children’s Cancer Center Playground Shade Sails

Engineer: Ram Goel, Ph.D., P.E., Soney FM LLC

Design: Jarrett Schechner (owner) and Janice Stockard, Awning Works Inc.

Fabrication: Awning Works Inc.

Project Manager: Danny DeLuca and Stephanie Williams, Awning Works Inc.

Installation: Billy Boydston, Awning Works Inc.

Fabrics: Alnet mesh fabric, silver

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