Facilities management works to repair collapsed OUC panel

Repair work continues on the OUC
Repair work continues on the OUC

The physical plant at Colorado State University-Pueblo is working to repair a collapsed panel on a wall at the Occhiato University Center. The area surrounding the collapse has been closed off since the first week of August.

The OUC’s exterior walls are connected via a series of panels. One panel on the side of the structure dropped from its position, creating a gap there. Temporary paneling is currently filling the gap.

“One of the connections basically broke loose and the panel fell to the ground,” said Craig Cason, physical plant director.

“Since then we’ve had it barricaded off,” he said.

The physical plant is still unsure why the collapse happened.

Facilities decided to block the area off for safety, to determine the cause of the collapse and to make room for construction crews to repair the damage. The university also hired an engineering company to inspect the damage and recommend repairs.

“We kind of barricaded it off not knowing quite what the extent of what we were going to need in order for the contractor to get in there and do the work,” Cason said.

Until the physical plant knows why the collapse happened, the area will remain closed off.

“We’re going to be doing some remediation to some of the panels just to provide extra support just in case there’s anything else that could go wrong,” Cason said.

“The building’s fine to be in until we get it done.”

The OUC has been part of CSU-Pueblo’s campus since 1974.

Cason does not believe the age of the building was a major cause of the collapse but suggested, “sometimes the beating of the sun on a panel like that can cause them to expand and contract.”

While the collapse’s cause is being determined, the physical plant is adding support to the building.

“Just to be safe, we’re just going to be putting on a little bit more support just to make sure there isn’t anything else that could happen,” Cason said.

“If there’s a structural problem, we want to take care of it now.”