ICRI 2009 Project Award Winner
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Award of Merit: Longevity Category

The Renovation of Cassell Coliseum at Virginia Polytechnic Institute—11 Years Later
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Blacksburg, Virginia

Submitted by Sika Corporation

Cassell Coliseum

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Blacksburg, Virginia

Project Engineer/

HDH Associates, PC
Christiansburg, Virginia

Repair Contractor
Allan R. Neely Company
Narrows, Virginia

Material Supplier/

Sika Corporation
Lyndhurst, New Jersey

Cassell Coliseum is a 10,052-seat arena located on the campus of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA. The facility is home for the Virginia Tech Hokies basketball teams and occasionally plays host to other special events on campus. Construction for the main portion of the coliseum began in 1961, and it was completed in December 1964 at a cost of $2.7 million. It houses the basketball arena, locker rooms, two auxiliary gymnasiums, offices, and other athletic facilities. 

Roof repair of the coliseum was completed in 1996 with the replacement of the roof surface and installation of structural access to the heating and lighting systems as well as the installation of steel beams in the top of the arena. In the following year, major restoration and sealing of the exterior concrete walls and buttresses took place. The project was recognized with the 1998 ICRI Award of Excellence in the Municipal Category. 

Low cover problems compounded by poor consolidation and aggregate gradation led to a significant amount of carbonation-induced corrosion on the underside of the cast-in-place concrete flying buttresses. Hundreds of hand-applied spall repairs to the underside of the buttresses were needed, and 35 years of exposure to the elements in this mountainous region of southwest Virginia had also left the coliseum in need of an aesthetic upgrade. An anti-carbonation elastomeric coating was applied to protect and improve the appearance of the entire structure. 

An inspection after 11 years showed that all of the concrete repairs were well bonded and there were no signs of spalling activity. Moreover, there were no visible cracks or rust stains in the elastomeric coating. The ability of the decorative and protective anti-carbonation coating to prevent future significant ingress of carbon dioxide has played an important role in preventing new spalling activity on this structure.

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