Athens, Ga. – The University of Georgia and Choate Construction Company are examining the breakage of glass panes in four of the 358 panels on the facade of Stegeman Coliseum. Until the cause is determined and resolved, protective coverings have been placed over the entrances into the coliseum.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we determined to place awnings where pedestrians walk on the exterior of the coliseum, with fencing to direct them under the awnings, until such time as a final determination is made as to the cause of the glass breakage and it is rectified,” said UGA Associate Vice President and Campus Architect Danny Sniff.
Each of the 358 panels consists of three panes in a sandwich configuration, installed as part of the $13 million renovation of Stegeman Coliseum completed in late 2010. Four of the individual panes have inexplicably broken in the period July 2011 through June 2012. Choate was the general contractor on the project, and will work with its glass suppliers and curtain-wall designers to examine the failures.
“The panes are made of safety glass, so they break in a spider-web fashion with a few, if any, small pieces falling when a break occurs, much like a car windshield breaking,” Sniff said. He added that the structure of the installation is sound. Each of the units is installed in its own supporting structure.
“The building is usable with little to no inconvenience to our patrons,” said Athletic Director Greg McGarity. “We wanted people to know why they are seeing awnings and fencing around the coliseum entrances-it is out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our fans.”
Sniff said some breakage is to be expected in such an installation, but with the fourth occurrence in a year it was determined that an investigation was warranted into whether the glass panels are performing as designed.