Kenan Stadium ready for game day

September 19, 2008 9:48:58 AM PDT
Officials at UNC Chapel Hill are hoping the hits during tomorrow's football game versus Virginia Tech come on the field and not in the stands.

During Carolina's home-opener against McNeese State last month, two chunks of concrete, each weighing several pounds, fell from the upper level of the stands to the lower level. The pieces dropped an estimated 15 feet. Officials believe the concrete had surrounded metal railings, and that over time, the concrete had cracked.

No one was hurt, and witnesses told Eyewitness News the fans who sit in the seats near where the chunks landed had left the game early during a prolonged weather delay. Had the concrete hit someone, there likely would have been serious injuries.

The University hired a structural engineering firm to evaluate the entire stadium for problems, and hundreds of repairs have been made in advance of tomorrow's kickoff.

"The stadium is sound structurally, but there were any number of spots that needed to be mended," said Senior Associate Athletic Director for Facilities and Operations.

Some fans will likely notice a few of the repairs. On many of Kenan Stadium's winding stairways, fresh concrete patches surround the railings. In a handful of spots, steel reinforcing brackets now surround the railings instead.

"Sounds like a lot, but if you take a look at this place and all the penetrations of railings into concrete it's probably not a huge percentage of ' em," Scroggs said. He believes fans will be safe, but he says you can never account for everything in an old stadium packed with 60,000 people.

"Even with this situation that we've just done, something could happen. I mean it's a big old stadium and things could happen, but I feel very confident that we're not gonna have any problems tomorrow afternoon against Virginia Tech."


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