New banners are going up inside at The Pit, but these do more than show school spirit. They are designed as an extra measure of protection while contractors shore up a post-construction concern.

Since the recent remodel of the University of New Mexico's basketball arena, several tiles in the stone façades have dislodged and fallen. Because safety is of paramount importance, the University initially put up protective barriers to avoid any possibility of an accident or injury until a permanent solution could be reached.

Work began this week on the installation of the banners inside the Pit. In addition to providing some extra decoration, the banners will also function as protective nets that would catch any tile that might fall.

"These new banners will serve as an extra protection, and will provide a dual safety measure while adding a touch of cherry and silver in support of the Lobo basketball team's outstanding start to this season," said University Architect Robert Doran. "They will remain in place as an extra level of protection until a permanent solution is found."

Of the more than 30,000 square tiles that make up the stone façades inside and outside the Pit, 26 have come loose and fallen within the past year. The 8-inch by 8-inch tiles have tumbled at random times with 12 coming down inside and 14 from the outside walls. Tests to determine the cause are so far inconclusive.

"This is not a structural issue, it is a façade issue," explained Doran. "The project architects and engineers as well as the construction manager have been working with the University from the beginning to insure safety and resolve the issue as soon as possible."

Regular updates will be provided as the condition warrants.

Media Contacts: Dianne Anderson (505) 379-9105; email: or Steve Carr, (505) 702-7720; email: