UNL implosion could bring answers on Surfside condo collapse

Remember when Nebraska's Cather and Pound Halls were demolished? Years later that data from the implosion could help explain the recent condo collapse in Florida.
Cather & Pound dorms
Cather & Pound dorms

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Some of you may remember the 13 story dorms that once stood on UNL’s city campus. They were demolished back in 2017. But how those dorms came down might help explain the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida.

December 22nd 2017. The day Nebraska’s Cather and Pound dormitories came tumbling to the ground to make room for something new. Prior to demolishing those buildings, Husker researchers collected data by putting instruments on the buildings while they were falling; tracking motions and accelerations; a rare study to find.

That research eventually led UNL Professor Daniel Linzell and his team to create computer models that can examine how extreme loads contribute to the risk of high rise collapses. Models they believe could answer some questions into the condo collapse down in Surfside.

“The first time I saw that, the way the first building failed, the way it collapsed, to me it immediately brought to mind a controlled demolition which is what Cather and Pound were,” Linzell said.

Based on his knowledge, he believes some critical columns on the ground floor of that Surfside condo failed and caused the collapse.

Husker engineers hope to give others access to their models and data in the future to help improve construction, monitor the well being of buildings, and potentially give notice if a structure isn’t sturdy.

“The tool that we have, this model, and may even more importantly the data we have collected, can help others develop their own models or just look at the data and maybe make some decisions about what they may or may not want to do with buildings located in their part of the country or world,” Linzell said.

Categories: Lancaster, Nebraska News, News