The University of Iowa will re-open the 30-foot climbing wall in its recreation center tomorrow, just over two months after an accident where a student fell and was seriously injured. University spokesperson, Stephen Pradarelli, says the school decided to reopen the wall after an investigation by the risk management and legal departments.
“And after interviews, reviewing video and looking at policies, could not determine what exactly caused the incident, but they could determine that the wall itself is sound and safe to use. So, we are going to reopen it as students come back for the spring semester,” Pradarelli says.
He says the review did produce some administrative changes. “Whenever risk management does an investigation like that they automatically review policies and procedures and they have passed along some recommendations to recreational services, in terms of record keeping, in terms of staffing of the climbing wall,” Pradarelli says.
“And so some changes will be implemented just to ensure that the activity is as safe as it possibly can be going forward.” The wall opened when the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center opened and requires students to pay a fee and be certified before they start climbing.
“First-time users of the wall pay 20 dollars to take a lesson and to get tested in order to ensure their safety. And each year they must undergo a renewal of the test for 10 dollars to make sure that they are certified to climb at the level that they were approved to climb,” Pradarelli explains.
He says around 1,000 students use the wall each year. “It’s a very popular feature of the recreation and wellness center, and we expect it to continue to be popular once it reopens on Tuesday,” Pradarelli says. The student who fell from the wall, 21-year-old Spencer Bean, landed on his feet, but then briefly passed out before being taken to the hospital.
A report on KWWL TV in Waterloo says Bean is returning to school at the start of the semester and is expected to fully recover.