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Storms damage Colts' new stadium

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Associated Press Writer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Three roof drains in Lucas Oil Stadium sprang leaks when thunderstorms hit Indianapolis Tuesday night, leading to some water damage in a data center and other areas.

But stadium officials say the damage shouldn't delay the Aug. 16 public opening for the new home of the Indianapolis Colts. Construction work continued Wednesday, said John Klipsch, executive director of the Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority.

"At this juncture, no one's reporting that we're going to miss our opening dates," he said.

Some high school football games will be played a few days after the public opening, and the Colts are scheduled to play the Buffalo Bills in an Aug. 24 preseason game.

Klipsch said crews were still investigating how three of the stadium's 20 main roof drains leaked. It was too early to estimate the damage total or say whether problems stemmed from design, manufacturing or installation issues.

Crews had repaired the three fractured drain pipes by Wednesday afternoon.

At least a couple feet of water poured into the stadium's data room, which is below ground, after a drain on the stadium's northeast corner cracked. The room serves as a control center for telephones, Wi-Fi and Internet access and houses some recently installed computers and receiver components.

Klipsch said stadium officials held an emergency meeting with contractors Wednesday morning.

"Everybody at this juncture is reporting that they think they can get that nerve center back on line within a matter of weeks," he said.

The roof drains caused leaks in three corners of the stadium. Ceiling tiles, drywalls and carpets were damaged. Water entered electrical boxes, telephone closets and several meeting rooms. It also reached an underground loading dock but caused no problems.

The stadium's seating, videoboards, sound system, retractable roof and playing field all escaped damage. Klipsch also said he was confident the water caused no structural problems.

"This damage to this building is less than 1 percent of the square footage," he said, adding that insurance would pay for most of it.

"Right now we're mopping up and making sure the building's safe and evaluating all these systems," he said.

The $700 million stadium is scheduled to host the 2012 Super Bowl.

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