This photo, taken Tuesday, shows the missing plate that fell from the northwest corner of Assembly Hall. (Chris Howell / Associated Press)
Bloomington, Ind. — An inspection of the roof and ceiling at Assembly Hall on Wednesday found more places where melting snow and ice had loosened steel plates inside Indiana University’s basketball arena.
Athletic director Fred Glass said workers found two or three additional spots where the plates appeared to be damaged, but were in no imminent danger of falling.
Glass said the building was safe. The Michigan vs. Indiana women’s basketball game was played as scheduled Wednesday night; the Wolverines prevailed, 70-58.
On Tuesday, an eight-foot long, 14-inch wide, 50-pound metal plate fell from the building’s ceiling about six hours before the Hoosiers were supposed to play No. 15 Iowa. The debris damaged some empty seats in the northwest corner and prompted school officials to postpone the game for safety reasons.
On Wednesday, Glass said engineers were still trying to find a solution.
“Last night it looked like it was purely cosmetic,” Glass explained, referring to the function of the steel plates. “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.”
Workers roped off the building’s four corners after Tuesday’s accident.
Glass then told reporters the court area was safe and that the men’s game could have been played Tuesday night if the building wasn’t expected to be full of fans.
Indiana officials knew the building, which first opened in 1971-72, needed work.
Last month, they announced Cindy Simon Skjodt was donating $40 million to help renovate the facility, which will be renamed the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall. Among the planned changes are a new entryway, remodeled bathrooms and concession stands, and a big, new video scoreboard along with box seats above the south baseline bleachers.
But none of the proposed renovations involved the metal plates. Assembly Hall seats more than 17,000.
“They’re confident in the integrity of the structure of the roof itself, but that’s not to minimize it,” Glass said, noting the roof had been inspected just a few months ago. “Obviously, there is a problem if the roof pinches down and pops a steel plate off. … 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.”