An Update on Assembly Hall
Feb. 19, 2014
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Director of Athletics Fred Glass and Tom Morrison, Vice President, Capital Planning and Facilities provided an update on Assembly Hall. Below is a complete transcript of the press conference.
Fred Glass (Vice President, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics)
Fred Glass: Good afternoon, everyone. Appreciate you coming together. We had actually just planned to put out an updated release on what was going on because there's not tons of news, but because of the interest and all the inquiries, we wanted to go ahead and have an availability. So I'll give you a quick update on what's going on, and I'll be happy to answer any and all questions that people might have.
We successfully got the crane in today about 12:15. I don't know how much the inside baseball, in which you might be interested, but we started with a different crane, recognized that the wheels weren't broad enough to absorb the weight of the crane so as to avoid damage to the floor of Assembly Hall, so we had to reload and get another crane. It's a 135 foot crane from our friends at MacAllister Machinery. They've been very cooperative with us.
They brought it down from Indianapolis and we got it here at 12:15. We actually had to take up the wooden floor that the team plays on, and put down rubberized sub flooring as that thing is so heavy and potentially damaging.
We did make use of the time before 12:15. Our university engineers and our external engineers were on the scene. They were in what apparently is a fairly intricate catwalk network inside Assembly Hall to see as much as they could see from the inside, and they were also actually on the roof today, and those are our, again, our in house lead engineers from the University as well as the engineer from Arsee Engineers, which is the engineering firm that has been monitoring Assembly Hall for many, many years and has done our structural inspections on the roof.
The engineers were able to confirm what we thought was the causation issue last night. So in sort of layman's terms, which is all I know in the engineering world, there is a valley in the roof of an intentional designed valley in the roof of Assembly Hall, snow collected in there, and then as snow melted, it slid in and created a sort of a super load in that area. They speculate that it was probably the biggest load that the roof has borne, if you will. All that pressure went to where that plate was and essentially popped it off, which, of course, is a flaw in a variety of ways. But a targeted and unique event.
So we do believe that we understand the cause and that it is largely limited to the plates that bear the full brunt of that snow. They were able to make a complete visual and physical inspection, both internally and externally, so that is behind where the siding is, if you will, as well as on the front end by virtue of having the crane there.
Did find two or three other places where the steel plating was loose. None of which was eminent to fall. I want to emphasize that there weren't any plates that they thought were in any kind of short term danger of popping off, but there were some that were loose.
So we continue to be working on the assessment, the nature of those plates, whether they do have any sort of structural utility or not, and then what the best method is going to be to remediate those, and those details are being worked out.
We have been told that they are confident that they'll be able to completely assess and remediate, which is engineering talk for fix, the plating and give us a 100% all clear and confirmation that the plating is secure and Assembly Hall is safe.
I'll add that while they were there, the Arsee Engineers, the guys that reviewed the structure, they were able to review the overall structure of the roof and just as it was reflected in August or September when the last inspection was made, they're confident in the integrity of the structure of the roof itself, but that's not to minimize it.
Obviously, there is a problem if the roof pinches down and pops a steel plate off. So, in short in sum, I guess the causation seems to be what we thought it was last night. The assessment or remediation is ongoing. The engineers are confident that they'll be able to have that repaired and certify it as safe before the next men's basketball game, which I think is next Sunday, and then we're also confident that it will be done in time and hopefully reschedule Iowa back here at Assembly Hall at a time that's mutually convenient for both teams.
I'll also mention that the women's game is still ongoing tonight. We're going to keep those areas roped off in an abundance of caution, even though the engineers have indicated there is no danger at all of those plates coming down because they've inspected all of them, and even the ones that are slightly loose are not in danger of coming down. But we're going to keep those roped off and not have any fans sitting there.
So Barbara and I will be at the game tonight, and looking forward to finding some nice seats in the middle of the arena with the rest of the folks.
In terms of the Iowa game being rescheduled, conversations are ongoing with Iowa. We're confident that we'll reach a mutually acceptable time and date within the 72 hour window that we have to do so, and we're confident that game will be here at Assembly Hall. So with that, I'll be happy to take any and all questions.
Q. Yesterday you had said that you gave some thought to moving that fascia, if you will. You've decided against that and will repair it and keep it up there?
So the short answer is we're not sure that will be the alternative. They have a number of proposed approaches. They're fine tuning that and testing that and doing all those sorts of things. But they are to the point where they gave us a great deal of comfort that it was quite fixable. There would be lots of belt and suspenders on it for multiple options. Frankly, given the detail on which the structural engineers have gone over that area, it's probably or it will be the safest building in the Big Ten, if not the country, when they're done.
TOM MORRISON: The engineers just completed what was a very extensive review, as Fred said, both inside and out. Behind the wall and in front of the wall with the crane. They are right now meeting to try to work on the remediation plans, and now they have all of their data and they're working on exactly how to affect the fix. Again, they've given us some comfort level as to what the timeframe will be in rough terms, but they're working on exactly how they're going to do it.
Q. There wasn't any area that was really loose?
Q. Were the loose parts in the same section of the roof?
Q: Do you anticipate any changes to the roof?
But we do need to look at that, long term. This is, according to the engineers, the deepest snow and ice accumulation that roof has probably seen. So now that we know that, that will be part of the remediations, and that's part of the assessment that we are going through.
Fred Glass: My understanding is that the fix for those plates will be done to respond to a similar `once-in-a-hundred" years snow. We will probably try to do some things, as I understand it, to try to mitigate that up on the roof. But we are not relying on the fact that this kind of load won't happen again. It will be engineered to withstand this severe or even more severe load.
TOM MORRISON: That's exactly right. Now that we know the load that forces it to flex to this degree, we are going to accommodate that moving forward.
Q. Do you know how much flex the roof had?
Q. Is there a draining system on the roof?
Q: Could the plates actually serve a structural purpose?
Fred Glass: But your point, Dustin, last night it looked like it was purely cosmetic. It looks like now there might be some other utility to it. So that's part of what they're doing is sorting out the fix.
Q. If you guys decide for the plates to be removed, is that something you would want to do after the season?
Q. Is it part of the structural concern that you're having, is it because you think the metal plates are possibly helping hold those panels that make up the facade, and how much of a concern is there that possibly the roof could have gotten damaged from those panels pushing it?
Q. If you decide to remove the plates, do you know how long that process would be?
Q. A day, a couple days?
Q. Not to be redundant, but there is not an immediate threat, but could it be a threat at some point or they're not going to get any worse than they are now?
Fred Glass: Just to be super clear, so they're loose, but not in an imminent danger of falling. They're either going to be removed or the plates will probably be removed under any scenario. The issue is will they go back up in a more secure way, and that's part of what they're thinking about. So we're not going to leave them up there loose. They'll either come off and stay off, or they'll be adhered in a way that the engineers are 100% confident they won't come down, huge snow load or not.
Q. Does it clear the road block of setting a new date with Iowa now that you've got confidence from the engineers?
So I think to your point, since we've cleared the hurdle of the engineers having confidence it will be a safe building to host the game, they'll be able to find a date.
Q. Is there a possibility of it being before the Ohio State game? I know you said you were confident the building would be ready by then. But I think there is a window in your schedule between next Tuesday and next weekend. Would it be possible to happen before the Ohio State game?
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