STILLWATER — Plumbing system failures that caused sewage stench to permeate the locker room of Oklahoma State University's newly renovated football stadium have prompted the university and its insurers to file a negligence lawsuit against Cowboy Athletics Inc., and others involved in the stadium's renovation.
Multiple plumbing system failures forced the OSU football team to abandon the new facility for about five months in spring 2011 while contractors dug up concrete floors to fix the problems, officials said.
Although it seems odd for the university to sue its own support organization, Cowboy Athletics Inc. is named as a defendant in the lawsuit because it served as general contractor on the renovation project, the lawsuit indicates.
Cowboy Athletics Inc. is a nonprofit corporation formed to raise money to support OSU athletic organizations and educational programs.
It is considered a component of the university, according to the organization's audited financial statements.
Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are Cowboy Athletics Facilities LLC; Jackson Boiler & Tank Co.; United Mechanical Inc.; Flintco LLC; K&M Shillingford Inc.; PVI Industries LLC; and Crafton, Tull & Associates Inc.
A break in a plastic drain pipe joint under the concrete floor in the west end of Boone Pickens Stadium was discovered in March 2011, about a year after west end renovations were completed, the lawsuit states.
Upon closer inspection, OSU officials discovered about 15 separate breaks in the piping system and a blockage caused by gravel in the pipe.
The breaks were caused by flaws in the design, manufacture and installation of equipment that allowed hot water to be discharged directly into a piping system that wasn't properly equipped to handle the resulting expansion and contraction, the lawsuit alleges.
OSU had to move its football team to an alternate facility so the concrete flooring and floor covering could be removed and the plastic drain pipe replaced with cast iron piping, the lawsuit states.
OSU spokesman Gary Shutt said all necessary repairs have been made, and the plumbing system in the west end of the stadium is now in working order.
The university and its insurers have been negotiating with contractors to resolve financial responsibility for problems, he said, adding that the lawsuit was filed because the statute of limitations was approaching.
“We cannot comment further because of the pending litigation,” he said.
OSU and its insurers are asking for unspecified damages in excess of $75,000. The lawsuit was filed Thursday in Payne County District Court.