Read our Frequently Asked Questions about campus roof issues

3/12/19 - 9 p.m. Update on Campus Building Evaluations

MSU Community,

We have completed an evaluation of the snow load risk on all campus buildings with flat roofs. There are no structural concerns in any building outside the fitness center area.

While leaking roofs and water lines breaks are to be expected during cold weather and do not constitute structural concerns, we do ask that you report them to Facility Services at 994-2107 so that they can be addressed.

Thank you for your patience as we continue to work on important maintenance and repair projects.

This email clarifies an earlier email today that did not specify the evaluations focused on flat-roofed buildings.

Sincerely,

Daniel Stevenson
Associate Vice President, PE 
University Services

3/12/19 – 3:30 p.m. President's letter to students

Dear Students,


We appreciate your understanding and patience regarding the unanticipated closure of the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center. I recognize that the fitness center is an important part of your campus experience at Montana State University, and that is why we are doing everything in our power to safely reopen the unaffected portions of the fitness center as soon as possible.

I want you to know we are aggressively pursuing ways to provide you the activity courses, fitness classes and other fitness center services that you enjoyed all year prior to last Thursday. Our team has already identified temporary accommodations for nearly all the for-credit activity courses and numerous group fitness classes. We are identifying ways to restore services, including the use of exercise equipment and machines, even if that means relocating them to a different building.

We anticipate being able to provide you updates via the fitness center website before you return from Spring Break.

As for the fitness center facility, your safety is our primary objective. Let me explain: While the North and South gyms were directly impacted, they share walls with the main lobby and are adjacent to other common areas, and those cannot yet be occupied.

Over the break, we will be working on options to provide temporary walls and other measures to secure the area to ensure your safety for when the building is reopened. Finding a way to safely reopen the remainder of the fitness center as quickly as possible is a top priority.

Many of you have sent messages to me, and to others at MSU, inquiring about refunds for fees paid to use the fitness center. Rest assured, we don't expect you to pay for services you are not receiving, and we are developing a plan to address this situation. We are working diligently to restore service as quickly as possible. I commit to provide you an update to this plan before the end of Spring Break.

Thank you for being a great Bobcat and have a well-deserved Spring Break. I look forward to your return and the completion of a very successful academic year.

Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

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3/11/19 – 7:45 a.m. President's letter to campus

Dear MSU Community,

First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude to all our students, faculty, staff and parents for their patience and understanding as we have worked through the roof collapses of our South and North gyms in the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center.

I understand these events have been concerning as well as disruptive. I am very sorry for both.

On Sunday, we removed snow from the roof of the Leon Johnson annex, south of the high rise. This was the first snow removal you will see across campus this week. We are doing this out of an abundance of caution. This has been an unusual winter, and it is not over yet. We cannot predict what other storms may arrive in coming weeks and we want to be prepared. During our snow removal some sidewalks may be temporarily closed.

Additionally, MSU is reevaluating its protocols for snow monitoring and removal, particularly during extreme or sustained weather events like we experienced in February.

Last week, we had more than 24 structural engineers evaluate more than 40 buildings on campus. We will now begin a second and even deeper review of those buildings to help guide us on long-term changes in how we manage snow loads.

We have been posting updates to the web and have added an FAQ section to the page below.

As unfortunate as this event has been, I am grateful for the fact that not one individual was injured. My goal is that out of this unfortunate incident, we will build an even stronger university.

 

Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

Frequently Asked Questions

Information updated at 11:55 p.m. on March 11, 2019.

How long will the fitness center be closed? Will students receive a refund on their fitness fee since they won’t be able to use the complex?

It is too soon to know how long the fitness center will be closed. Much of the center appears unaffected by the roof collapses in the North and South gyms. If we cannot reopen the fitness center in a reasonable time period, we will consider full or partial refunds.

How can I retrieve my belongings from my gym locker?

Fitness center users who wish to get the items from their lockers may do so starting this week by filling out an online request form. Staff members from Recreational Sports and Fitness will retrieve the full contents of your locker and email you a date and time for pickup. Gym patrons will not be able to enter the building themselves due to ongoing safety concerns.

The first dates for pickup will be March 13-15, though additional opportunities will be available during Spring Break and beyond. All locker holders have been sent an email with the details. This is, of course, optional. You are not obligated to empty your locker. 

Additional information about retrieving your locker's contents and other information about the fitness center closure are available on the Recreational Sports and Fitness shutdown page.

What will happen to students whose classes were in the fitness center? 

With involvement from course instructors, alternative arrangements are being made to accommodate these classes. Please check the Recreational Sports and Fitness website for information about activity classes and group fitness schedules.

Why did the gym have a flat roof in the first place? Why does MSU let the flat roofs stay in place? 

Flat roofs are very common for large buildings and continue to be used for both private and public structures in all climates. MSU has not seen a roof failure like this in its 125-year history.

When will Grant Street reopen? 

Grant Street reopened March 10. Future closures are likely during cleanup and demolition work.

Will the walls of the south and north gym be demolished? If so, when?

While this seems likely, we need to wait for the insurance investigation to be completed before making any final decisions.

Is the university worried about the Upper Gym?

Right now, the entire fitness center is closed for evaluation and safety purposes. The Upper Gym, located between the North and South gyms, was built at the same time as the other gyms and is a similar construction type. Those factors make it a higher risk than the remainder of the fitness center complex. The future of the Upper Gym will be discussed after the insurance investigation is complete and the entire building can be fully evaluated for structural integrity.

What will it cost to replace the structures?

At this time, we do not yet know what it will cost to replace the gyms. As with any construction project, MSU will need to provide design requirements, create estimates and get bids before the cost can be known. Other considerations include whether there will be changes to the scope and/or purpose of the replacement space. 

Will tuition go up because of this? 

No, tuition will not go up because of this incident.

Will student fees increase because of this? 

Student fees will not increase solely as a result of the roof collapse. We will seek student input to determine current and future needs before proceeding with any replacement. If the cost of a proposed replacement facility exceeds the amount we receive from insurance, students will be consulted and would have the opportunity to vote on any additional fees.

What about employees who work in the fitness center?

Employees impacted by this event will be relocated to alternative spaces. Temporary arrangements have been identified. Longer-term arrangements will be determined after we better understand our ability to use the remaining portions of the fitness center.

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3/10/19 – 12:30 p.m. Update

This morning, MSU began its next phase of addressing snow on flat roofs by removing snow from the roof of the single-story Leon Johnson Hall annex, which is south of the high rise. 

Throughout the coming week you will see crews removing snow from other buildings across campus. We are doing this out of an abundance of caution. This has been an unusual winter, and it is not over yet. We cannot predict what other storms may arrive in coming weeks, and we want to be prepared. 

Additionally, MSU is reevaluating its protocols for snow monitoring and removal, particularly during extreme or sustained weather events like we experienced in February.

We wish to express our gratitude to all the students, faculty, staff and parents for their patience and we are very sorry for the inconvenience this has caused.   

The next update will be Monday.

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3/9/19 – 7:45 p.m. Update

As predicted, the roof of the North Gym of the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center has collapsed. There were no injuries. The scene had been previously cordoned off for safety.

The next update will be at noon on Monday.

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3/8/19 – Noon Update

South Gym Roof

Following yesterday’s collapse of the roof of the South Gym of the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center, Montana State University has commissioned nearly two dozen structural engineers from companies across southwest Montana to evaluate more than 40 flat-roofed buildings on campus.

It is important to note that, outside of the fitness center area, no concerns about the stability of other buildings on campus have been identified.

North Gym Roof

Presently, a major focus for the MSU team working on this situation has been the roof of the North Gym of the fitness center, which is adjacent to and connected to the collapsed roof in South Gym. The North Gym is part of the same structure and it was built at the same time, using the same methods and type of materials as the South Gym.

An assessment of its structure indicates that the North Gym’s roof is likely to fail as well.

There is no reliable way to predict when--or if--a failure may happen, but the university is preparing for this possibility. Utilities will be isolated to prevent disruptions. Our MSU team will continue to monitor and assess the surrounding portions of the fitness center.

Out of an abundance of caution and as a precaution measure against the possible roof’s failure, Grant Street past the fitness center is now closed.

Activities and Classes in the Marga Hoseaus Fitness Center

The fitness center, including the Shroyer Gym, remains closed at this time. All activities and classes in the building are canceled today.

Classes based in the building have been rescheduled and relocated through March 15. Students and instructors will be contacted by email with the details of the course changes.

The Brick Breeden Fieldhouse remains open. Its structure has been assessed and determined to be safe. Please note that, for the time being, only the south entrance is open. The north and west doors are closed. Tomorrow’s basketball game against Portland State will go on as planned.

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3/7/19 – 5 p.m. Update

Following today’s collapse of the South Gym roof, we are continuing to assess the situation and to investigate the causes of the roof collapse. The Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center will remain closed tomorrow, Friday, March 8. All classes and events in the facility are canceled.

As noted in our earlier update, because of construction similarities between the South and North gyms, university staff and engineers are working to reduce the weight of snow on the North Gym roof using a variety of techniques that will not result in additional stress on the building. Also, out of an abundance of caution, engineering teams will be assessing buildings on campus tomorrow to determine their conditions as well.

We are also working on a plan so that students can retrieve personal belongings in the locker rooms or other areas of the Fitness Center. We will announce the plans as soon as details are available.

Finally, tonight’s women’s basketball game versus Sacramento State will go on as planned. Fans must enter through the south Fieldhouse entrance. The west and north entrances will be closed.

Previous updates are available below. The next update to this page will be posted before noon tomorrow.

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3/7/19 – 2 p.m. Update

We are still investigating the cause of the roof failure at the South Gym. The entire center will remain closed for today and tomorrow.

Immediately adjacent to the South Gym is the North Gym, which was built at the same time and with the same structural characteristics. Out of abundance of caution, we are planning to remove the snow from the North Gym roof.

The university expects its next update to be at 5 p.m.

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3/7/19 – 1 p.m. Update

There are no new updates at this time. We are continuing to assess the situation.

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3/7/19 – Noon Update

What has happened?

At about 2:20 a.m. today, the roof of the South Gym at the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center collapsed. MSU staff and firefighters responded. There was no fire or explosions, although steam lines were ruptured. Utilities have been cut off to the affected portion of the building.

The building was closed at the time with only a few members of the custodial staff inside. Thankfully, no one was injured.

What is the status?

Currently, MSU staff and structural engineers are assessing the entire fitness center to ascertain its structural stability. The fitness center, Shroyer Gym and the west and north entrances to the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse are closed. All classes and events within the fitness center and Shroyer are canceled until further notice.

What caused the collapse? 

That is still being assessed. It’s too early to say for certain what caused it.

What can I do to stay safe on campus? 

We are asking people to stay away from the affected area for the time being. Pedestrians and motorists should heed barriers and closure signs and listen to any parking or law enforcement staff directions.

How long will the fitness center be closed? When will classes resume inside?

Both of those questions are still being assessed. Safety is of the utmost importance. Until we are sure the fitness center is safe, we will keep the facilities closed.

What do employees need to know?

Staff and faculty who work in the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center were contacted early this morning and told not to report to work. Alternative arrangements are still being determined. Employees should check in with their supervisors for further instruction. Faculty members should contact their department heads.

Will the basketball game tonight in the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse go on tonight?

The game will go on as planned, although entry to the fieldhouse will be restricted to the south entrance. The north and west entrances will be closed.

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3/7/19 – 7 a.m. Email from President

Dear MSU Community,

Overnight, the roof of the South Gym at the Marga Hosaeus Fitness Center collapsed. I would like to note, first and importantly, that no one was injured.

Emergency responders, engineers and MSU staff members are at the scene this morning. The entire fitness center is closed until further notice. Classes and events in the building today are canceled. No parking lots are impacted by this incident, though pedestrian access near the building will be restricted. At this time, we are asking people to stay away of the area to let our staff and responders do their jobs.

More information will be made available as we learn more. Please look to MSU's social media channels, website and newsletters for additional information as it becomes available.

Thank you for your patience as we work through this difficult situation.

Sincerely,

Waded Cruzado

Waded Cruzado
President, Montana State University

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