By Kantele Franko
ATHENS — After a hefty piece of stone molding fell from the brick exterior of Ohio University’s football stadium onto a sidewalk, other similar moldings have been removed as a precaution and work is underway to stabilize the wall before the team’s home opener in early September.
No one was hurt when the 8-inch-thick piece — measuring about 2 ½ feet by 4 feet — evidently crashed down at the southwest corner of Peden Stadium from a part of the stands that was built in 1929, the school said in a statement. A door and a cabinet of audio and video equipment were damaged.
The school said the support system underneath the stone molding apparently failed, and areas around some of the stands were blocked off as a safety precaution after the fallen stone was discovered the morning of July 27. University officials think the piece fell that morning or the previous night and aren’t aware of anyone having been around when it happened, spokesman Dan Pittman said in an email.
A structural engineer subsequently inspected the masonry on the stands and recommended taking off the remaining stone moldings and making interim repairs, according to the university. It said those changes, slated to be done before the Bobcats face Texas State on Sept. 3, are expected to cost about $202,000.
The university plans to start construction in March on a long-term repair that is yet to be designed but would be scheduled for completion by this time next year. A contractor hasn’t been chosen for that design and repair work, so the cost for that hasn’t been determined, Pittman said.
OU wasn’t aware of any previous concerns raised about the integrity of the stadium masonry and no similar masonry failures have happened there previously, Pittman said.
The repair work hasn’t affected athletic practices or other activities, he said.