ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The University of New Mexico said it's found a solution to permanently secure those problematic stone tiles at The Pit.
"Over the last few years, we've had maybe 40 of those come loose, some of them fall. Nobody has been hurt," said UNM architect Robert Doran.
As an interim fix, UNM put up banners to cover the tiles as well as railings to keep people from coming too close to them.
The tiles were put in as part of the $60 million renovation of the arena which was completed in late 2010.
Now, crews are working to secure each of the 33,000 tiles both inside and outside of the arena.
"The craftsman basically hit every tile with a rubber mallet and it has a distinctive sound if it was hollow in the back or if there was any bit of movement or anything we felt would constitute some suspect issue," Doran said.
If the tiles have an issue, they are removed and given a new adhesive to keep them in place.
Doran said tiles that are damaged during that process are replaced.
All of the tiles are also getting an extra measure of security.
"They tapped a hole into the center of each tile to the substrate, then they put a mechanical fastener into that to create a mechanical bond as well as the adhesive bond." said Doran.
Crews finished work on the 11,000 tiles inside the arena Wednesday and have now turned their attention outside, where they will do the same for the 22,000 tiles on the exterior of The Pit.
As for what caused the tiles to come loose in the first place, Doran says they are still not exactly sure.
"We don't really have the kind of total resolution to that. We've looked at it now for two years and there wasn't any really specific obvious individual cause," Doran said.
The one thing they did see was some drying out of the adhesive, but why that happened is still unclear.
Despite not knowing exactly why the tiles fell, Doran said they are confident once the work is done, the tiles won't be going anywhere.
Fixing all 33,000 tiles is covered under the warranty so it is not costing UNM anything.
UNM expects to have the tile work on the outside of the arena finished up in about a month or so. Crews are starting with the tiles near entrances first and working their way around.
The goal was to get the inside portion of the work completed before the Lobo Howl on Friday and the rest completed before basketball season.
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