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December 20, 2006
Contact: Deborah Baum
(401) 863-2476

University Closes Smith Swim Center

As a precautionary measure, Brown University has closed its Smith Swim Center until structural engineers can evaluate the building’s roof and make recommendations for repairs. The engineers’s analysis and recommendations are expected in early January.

Update: Smith Swim Center to reopen (distributed Jaunary 9, 2007)

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Brown University announced today the closure of its Smith Swim Center effective Dec. 20, 2006, until further notice. The University made the decision following the discovery of several structural problems in the facility’s roof system.

Potential problems with the roof came to light in the fall when renovations and unrelated repairs of the center’s locker rooms were being conducted. The University contracted with two teams of engineers to evaluate the roof. They provided the University with a report in November that identified potential problems with the roof’s structure in the event of heavy snow.

Until yesterday, none of the engineers involved in the inspections had indicated that the facility was unsafe for use. However, on Tuesday, Dec. 19, the swim center’s original architect reviewed the report and expressed concerns about the roof. This led the University to take extra precautions and make the decision to close the facility.

“The University decided to close the swim center because we want to ensure the safety of Brown’s athletes and members of the local community who use the facility,” said Michael Chapman, vice president for public affairs and University relations. “Every effort will be made to expedite the inspection and repair process so that the center can reopen as soon as possible. We regret any inconvenience that this closure may present to those who use the swim center.”

Currently, engineers are working to evaluate the roof’s structure and recommend corrective actions. The team is expected to provide its analysis and recommendations to the University by early January.

Chapman said the University will communicate further with the 14 athletic teams, campus organizations and community groups that use the facility, when the engineers complete their inspection and recommendations and as more information becomes available. Decisions about potential changes in schedules for athletic events will also determined at that time.

Members of the community who use the facility and have questions or may need to retrieve any personal items may contact the Department of Athletics at (401) 863-3014.

Editors: Brown University has a fiber link television studio available for domestic and international live and taped interviews and maintains an ISDN line for radio interviews. For more information, call the Office of Media Relations at (401) 863-2476.