Decks at Tara Apartments closed after engineering firm's report

Friday, May 9, 2014 | 5:54 p.m. CDT; updated 7:02 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 9, 2014
MU has sealed off the rear decks at the Tara Apartments. The move to restrict access to residents was recommended by an engineering firm that inspected the buildings.

COLUMBIA — An engineering firm hired to evaluate all MU structures sent a letter to Larry Hubbard, director of campus facilities, in March to "strongly recommend" that access to the rear decks of all 16 buildings at Tara Apartments be closed off.

According to the letter, engineers from Trabue, Hansen and Hinshaw Inc. looked at the decks from the ground during its campuswide evaluation and noticed that the supporting beams had "lost some of their original capacity due to age and exposure to the elements." 

One deck was able to support three adult men, according to the letter, but there was enough "deflection" — or give — that the firm recommended sealing off the decks to allow time for further inspection. 

The decks were sealed beginning March 21, per the firm's recommendation. An email sent to residents said engineers would evaluate the decks for signs of weathering, according to an email sent to Tara residents on March 20 that was forwarded to the Missourian. 

The decks remained sealed as of Friday, and the university was still waiting for a final report from the firm, MU spokesman Christian Basi said. 

The firm completed an inspection of buildings on campus after the University Village collapse in February.

Tara Apartments is one of four university-owned apartment complexes, including University Village, designed to house graduate students and students with families. The 16-building complex is located on Ashland Road off Stadium Boulevard. It was built between 1982 and 1984, Basi wrote in an email Thursday. 

MU does not perform regularly scheduled structural inspections of its buildings, according to previous Missourian reporting. The buildings are checked by maintenance workers during routine work requests made by residents, Basi said in February.

Supervising editor is Katherine Reed.

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