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Photo: Kyle Stokes / WFIU News
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Photo: Joe Hren
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Photo: Joe Hren
UPDATE 8:20 p.m.:
A preliminary assessment of Assembly Hall today shows an unusual amount of snow and ice build-up on the roof likely caused a metal plating on the ceiling to fall off, damaging several seats.
The metal plating is one of several plates that line all four sides of Assembly Hall and cover the attachment of the walls to the ceiling. The ceiling is shaped in a curve and the plating that fell off was located at the bottom of the curve, where the pressure would have been the greatest.
“So we think that the issue is limited to the plate that is at that whatever inverted apex is the bottom of that curve in each one of the four corners,” IU Athletic Director Fred Glass said.
The plates are purely decorative and engineers say they likely could remove the rest of them.
Tom Morrison, IU vice president for capital planning and facilities, says they could know as early as midday tomorrow whether that is necessary.
By then, university officials could also know if the men’s basketball games can continue as scheduled.
The women’s game scheduled for tomorrow night is still on. Glass says, if needed, the fans can be confined to the midsections of the court, which is not near the metal platings.
IU and Iowa are working to reschedule the men’s game that was postponed. The team must decide within the next 72 hours when the game will be played or the Big Ten will make the decision for them.
The renovations of Assembly Hall will continue as planned.
Glass says today’s event only “underscores the value of a detailed structural review,” which he says has been planned as a part of the renovations.
Engineers inspect Assembly Hall’s structural components every other year. The last inspection was mid-2013.
IU men’s basketball head coach Tom Crean says he was grateful the plating fell when it did–at 2:30 p.m. before anyone was in the stands.
“You look at it and you just absolutely realize that an incredible, tragic crisis was averted,” he says.
UPDATED, 6:00 p.m. — Indiana University athletics officials have postponed tonight’s men’s basketball game against Iowa after a piece of metal fell from the ceiling of Assembly Hall and onto seats in the arena’s lower bowl.
A statement from IU Director of Athletics Fred Glass says the piece of metal facing — measuring eight feet long by 14 inches wide — damaged seats in the lower part of Section F roughly six-and-a-half hours before game time.
No one was injured in the incident.
ESPN posted a video of the metal falling after its cameras caught it on tape:
Video of falling metal beam at Assembly Hall from SC https://t.co/ir6Jefmjwe— Chris Hassel (@hasselESPN) February 18, 2014
“Safety is our No. 1 priority,” Glass said in the statement. “Our University engineers have advised us to postpone events in Assembly Hall until it can be determined what caused the facing to fall and ensure the safety of everyone attending an event in the facility.”
The IU-Iowa men’s game will be rescheduled. Athletics officials say “the status of tomorrow night’s women’s game with Michigan will be determined as soon as possible.”
Athletics officials spent $2 million to replace Assembly Hall’s roof in 2010, which then had problems with water leaks.
University officials recently announced a $40 million gift from alumna Cindy Simon Skjodt that would fund various renovations for the 42-year-old building, including a new lobby atrium and new luxury seating sections.
Glass and IU men’s basketball coach Tom Crean are expected to speak at a 7 p.m. press conference.
Taylor Killough, Kyle Stokes and Gretchen Frazee contributed to this report.