BLOOMINGTON – A few fans trudged into Assembly Hall for Thursday night's Indiana-Iowa game with hard hats. It was a joking attire for an incident that wasn't a joke, which is athletic director Fred Glass wanted to make this perfectly clear:
Assembly Hall is back in business.
“The fix is complete,” he said. “I'm confident that Assembly Hall is very safe. It might be the safest building in the Big Ten given how thoroughly it's been inspected.”
Inspection was necessary after fallen 50-pound metal plate from the top of Assembly Hall damaged seats. That forced the postponement of the Iowa game from Feb. 18 to Thursday night. Glass and IU vice president Tom Morrison said extensive inspections and repairs were made to ensure it will never happen again.
The incident was the result of the large amount of snow and ice from a series of winter storms. It had settled in a low area of Assembly Hall's roof, causing it to bow and come in contact with the plates. That pressure popped off an eight-foot-long plate, and weakened several others.
Engineers have reinforced the metal plates with eight bolts, twice what had originally been used. In addition, two inches were shaved off of each plate to lessen the likelihood of contact with the roof in the event of another bad winter.
Glass said he doesn't have the final numbers on the cost of the repairs -- which including bringing down two large cranes to inspect the roof -- but that most of it was in labor.
“The important thing here is we didn't have a human toll,” he said. “We count ourselves thankful.”
Glass said the feedback he's gotten from fans have been supportive.
“They were thrilled a d a tragedy was avoided.”
Glass said the repairs won't delay the planned $40 million renovation to Assembly Hall. That is set to start in March of 2015 and finish in the summer of 2016.