Assembly Hall fit for play

Scott Dochterman
Published: February 27 2014 | 6:03 pm - Updated: 29 March 2014 | 4:15 am in
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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Welcome to Assembly Hall, where the roof has not caved in ... yet.

The arena was deemed fit for action last week and confirmed in a pre-game news conference with Indiana Athletics Director Fred Glass and IU Vice President for capital planning and facilities Tom Morrison.

On Feb. 18, a 50-pound metal facing fell from the top of the arena and crushed several seats at the arena's lower bowl. The incident occurred about 6 hours before the Iowa-Indiana tipoff, and the game was postponed to tonight.

In a statement released to media, professional engineer Frederick A. Herget wrote: "In light of the repairs that have been completed to date, it is my professional opinion that the facility is safe for use and general occupancy for the remainder of the basketball schedule."

Apparently the damage and necessary repairs were more extensive than originally considered, Glass said tonight. Glass originally said the metal facings were ornamental but that's not the case. He said they serve a "secondary purpose" and they hold in the paneling inside the arena.

Workers took down all the panels and metal facings last week and drilled four additional holes into each one. The panels were shaved  down to further reinforce them.

"This may be the safest building in the Big Ten or college basketball," Glass said.

Indiana has an Assembly Hall renovation planned, and it will go on as scheduled.

Iowa Coach Fran McCaffery had initial discussions with Glass last week when the game was postponed and was pleased with the eventual result.

"I thought (Glass) handled it extremely well," McCaffery said. "Very professional, apologetic but at the same time it’s like, hey, we both said safety first. God forbid that happened later and somebody got hurt. That would have been awful. Thankfully that didn’t happen. So we said, 'Hey, we’ll figure it out, we’ll come up with a day to play the game.'"

"I’ve been doing this a long time and never got a phone call four hours before the game that the game’s been cancelled. Normally if there’s a postponement it’s weather-related. But again, it’s something that happened. It’s something we all dealt with professionally and everybody pitched in, including Purdue, and we’ll make the best of it."

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