More questions about collapse of Cowboys training center

Questions continue to loom over the weekend collapse of the Dallas Cowboys' 88,000-square-foot training center that left 12 people injured, one paralyzed below the waist.

Some in the soft-shell building industry wondered why the membrane skin needed replacing in 2008 after just five years of use — what they said was about half its expected lifespan. Others questioned why Cowboys management reportedly handled the general contracting for installing the new covering.

"It doesn't make any sense," said Jan Ligas, president of Arizon, a St. Louis-based rival maker of fabric-covered structures, including athletic facilities. "I don’t think anyone is going to spend $4 million on a facility and the skin lasts five years.

"This isn’t standard in the industry," continued Ligas, whose views were corroborated by officials of two other manufacturers. "I don’t know anyone that promises less than a 10- to 15-year life, some go 20 or higher. The minimum is 10."

Neither the Cowboys' management nor Summit Structures of Allentown, Pa., and its sister company, Cover-All Building Systems of Saskatoon, Canada, which supplied the DuraWeave-brand polyethylene covering, would explain why the fabric was swapped out last year.

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