The Maneater

Inspection of MU facilities extends beyond campus

MU owns 250 buildings both in Columbia and around the state.

Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin speaks at a news conference Saturday, Feb. 22, in the apparatus room of Fire Station One in Columbia. Loftin made a brief statement regarding Saturday morning's balcony collapse at University Village, which resulted in the death of Columbia Fire Department Lt. Bruce Britt.

In the wake of the collapse at University Village, MU will inspect all university-owned or leased buildings, regardless of age and area.

MU spokesman Christian Basi said the Columbia structural engineering firm Trabue, Hansen & Hinshaw Inc., which constructed Mizzou Arena, assisted by St. Louis structural engineering firm Alper Audi Inc., will examine all buildings not just on campus but also remotely located throughout Missouri.

MU owns other extension buildings and experimental firms around the state, Basi said. The total number of facilities the university is in charge of amounts to more than 250.

After the second story balcony of University Village’s building 707 collapsed Saturday, MU immediately brought in Trabue, Hansen & Hinshaw Inc. to inspect the housing complex for further danger.

Basi said the firm found the remaining buildings to be structurally sound, save for concerns with the walkways. Shoring under walkways was immediately put up as a result.

The university also took action to inspect buildings on campus.

“We also inspected any residential building that was older than ten years,” Basi said. “And those were all structurally sound. There were a few minor maintenance issues that were immediately fixed.”

Trabue, Hansen & Hinshaw Inc. is also currently investigating what caused the collapse at University Village.

Basi said the time frame for the investigation is uncertain, as the university has never had to deal with what it called a “structural emergency” of this sort. It could take up to days or even weeks.

“We will release more information as results from the report come in,” Basi said.

Based on the results, MU will also make both a short-term decision and long-term decision about the state of university facilities.

Director of Residential Life Frankie Minor said the university is currently focusing on responding to residents’ needs.

Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said the students who resided in University Village were being placed in alternative housing for the time being.

“We are very concerned about the ongoing safety of all of the Mizzou family, especially our students,” Loftin said in a press conference Saturday. “They were provided alternative housing and additional support by the university.”

MU’s investigation might also extend to buildings discussed at the January UM System Board of Curators meeting.

MU had proposed $3.2 million in renovations to Lafferre Hall at the meeting. The facility currently has a score of 0.91 on the Facilities Conditions Needs Index, which means 91 percent of its systems need replacing.

The university had also looked at $15 million in renovations and additions to McKee Gymnasium, which scored 0.8 on the FCNI, $22 million for Waters Hall and its score of 0.8, and $24 million for Mumford Hall, which scored a 0.5.

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