ALLEN (CBS 11 NEWS) – Missteps exposed – We may soon learn more definitively what caused the cracks in Allen ISD’s $60 million stadium. The district is set to release a new report on Thursday that is said to contain “shortcomings in the engineering and possibly construction of the stadium.”
But the CBS 11 I-Team has been taking a closer look at what went on behind the scenes before the Eagle Stadium opened.
City of Allen
On August 24, 2012 the Friday Night Lights were pointed straight at Allen ISD’s new state-of-the-art stadium. This was the Eagles’ first scrimmages and the place was packed with 18,000 seated fans and thousands more on the decks.
“I would, I mean in my bias opinion, I would say this is probably the best high school stadium in the nation,” Christian Herr, a representative for PBK Architects, told us back in 2012.
Following up on the safety issues created by the stadiums cracking concourse, I-Team Reporter Mireya Villarreal requested information from the City of Allen. They turned over reports that show how many times city inspectors visited the stadium, when they conducted those inspections, and if there were any issues uncovered during those inspections.
When news of the stadium’s closing first broke, CBS 11’s I-Team received a statement on May 20, 2012, from Teresa Warren, the city’s Media Relations Director, that said, in part,
“The City of Allen received the necessary independent inspection reports needed to complete the construction and issue the Certificate of Occupancy.”
But a closer look at the city’s inspection history and reports reveal on August 20, 2012 and September 20, 2012 Kurt Kasson, Allen’s Chief Building official, signed off on two Temporary Certificates of Occupancy, even though “foundation and structural steel letters had not been received” by the city.
A month later, after four home games had already been played, inspectors noted everything was on file and Allen’s Building Inspection Department issued a final Certificate of Occupancy on October 31, 2012.
In a separate statement sent today, Warren clarified, “In working with AISD and their request for a temporary CO, the City received satisfactory independent reports that would justify the issuance of a temporary CO. It is common to issue temporary COs for businesses or facilities upon request provided there is not any outstanding life safety concern that has been identified up to that point and basic finish out and final inspection/CO approval is near.”
From October 2012 through today no one from the city has gone back to re-inspect the stadium. Warren says they’re not required to do that. The city also does not plan to pull the stadium’s Certificate of Occupancy because the district voluntarily closed its doors. But Allen’s Building Inspection Department will require more permits to be taken out and paid for once there’s a plan in place to fix the cracks.
With more questions about how the cracks developed and when, CBS 11 I-Team reporter Mireya Villarreal also spoke with University of Texas at Arlington’s Dr. Simon Chao, a civil engineering expert.
“Those cracks don’t happen overnight. So, how is it that nobody saw the cracks earlier,” Villarreal asked.
“One possibility is usually, the cracks are very small. You cannot see even from this distance,” Dr. Chao explained.
Chao believes the cracks have been growing since that first football scrimmage and could start to impact other parts of the stadium.
“When a crack becomes so large there’s a concern that the rebar inside may have been stretched too much,” Chao noted. “So that means, it’s taking a lot of force inside and cannot take additional loading.”
Dr. Chao says construction industry norms allow cracks to be as wide as .015 inches, about as thick as your fingernail. Information released by the district shows the cracks found on Allen’s concourse are measuring nearly 3-tenths of an inch, 20 times more than what’s allowed.
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