A broken water main that flooded the playing surface at the Hearnes Center caused more than $100,000 damage but the full cost won’t be known until the floor is removed and an inspection is made, University of Missouri officials said Monday.

The Saturday morning break, in an exterior line on the west side of the arena, sent thousands of gallons of water and mud pouring in, causing a waterfall down the stairs from the mezzanine area. The water stood about 2 inches deep on the wooden floor, which on Monday afternoon was showing signs of warping.

“The wood floor that is currently down will have to be discarded,” said Nick Joos, spokesman for the MU Athletics Department. “We will take that floor up and we will have to see what the damage is to the facility underneath.”

The original floor that was installed when the arena was completed in 1972, a rubberized surface known as Tartan for its original trademark by 3M, is still underneath the wood, Joos said.

“If the water has penetrated that it will be very complicated,” he said. “There is probably mercury in there so there will have to be some remediation.”

The walls on the west side of the building will have to be checked for cracks because of the water pressure and debris that flowed into the building, Joos said.

MU officials were alerted to the leak about 8 a.m. Saturday morning, campus spokesman Christian Basi said. The university shut off the water by 9 a.m. and had contractors respond to clean up the mess but the damage had been done.

A utility area where the water entered the building was filled with dirt and rock and will have to be shoveled out. The cause of the break, whether it was an old pipe that failed or some other reason, has not yet been determined, Basi said.

The Hearnes Center was built between 1969 and 1972 and is named for former Gov. Warren Hearnes, who was in office at the time. It was the home of the Tigers basketball team until 2004, when Mizzou Arena opened, and continues to serve as a venue for university athletics and other events.

The next scheduled event is an Oct. 5 volleyball match against South Carolina. The team can practice in other locations but whether the floor will be repaired and usable by that date is uncertain, Joos said.

“We are still assessing what our options are for competition,” he said.

rkeller@columbiatribune.com

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