BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Feb. 19, 2014)– Despite a falling metal piece causing seat damage Tuesday, Indiana University officials say the remaining home games will be played in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
IU officials said the metal facing measured to be about 8 feet long and 14 inches wide. The 50-pound metal fell and damaged seats in the lower part of Section F, which is located in the northwest corner of the building.
Structural engineers were able to get an up close look at the damage with a 130-ft crane brought in from Indianapolis Wednesday. IU officials confirmed snow accumulation was the cause of the accident. Three other loose plates were found, but engineers stressed they were no imminent danger of coming off.
“The plates will probably be removed under any scenario. The issue is will they go back up in a more secure way,” said Fred Glass, IU Director of Athletics. “[Engineers] gave us a great deal of comfort that it was quite fixable.”
The IU women’s basketball game against Michigan went on as scheduled at Assembly Hall Wednesday night. All four corners of the stadium remained closed off from fans.
“It’s kind of frightening to see something like that come down,” said Suzie Mize, who came to watch her granddaughter play. “We felt that if they cleared it for today, we were good.”
One IU fan, who had tickets in the F section, is counting his blessings.
“If that’s the seat I think it is, that would have fallen right on my head,” Mike told ESPN 1070 by phone. “This isn’t the first time I’ve cheated death, so I’m running out of chances here.”
Engineers are still trying to finalize plans for repairs. A closer look at the original blueprints of the stadium revealed the metal beams that were initially deemed ornamental may actually serve some structural purpose.
“According to the engineers, this is probably the deepest snow and ice accumulation that roof has probably seen,” said Tom Morrison, IU Vice President of Capital Planning & Facilities. “Everything is connected to something else. You want to make sure that if you remove and change something else, it doesn’t impact further.”
However, IU remained confident all repairs will be fixed by the men’s basketball game against Ohio State next Sunday. They’re also closer to rescheduling the IU-Iowa game at Assembly Hall.
“I think getting the all-clear from engineers that we could host in time was the key part to make sure the facility is available,” said Glass. “Frankly, given the detail in which structural engineers have gone over that area, it probably will be the safest building in the Big Ten, if not in the country, when they’re done.”