After a delay in scheduling Friday morning, the dome at Utica College’s Todd and Jen Hutton Recreation Center was finally inflated later in the night. UC has had a few false alarms in the past two weeks.
It’s the second largest air supported dome in North America, and the Athletic Director at Utica College was sure Friday morning would finally be the day it gets inflated…once again. But Dave Fontaine soon learned, that’s wasn’t the case.
“So the targets moving a little bit as you can imagine, we’re at the mercy of the vendor. We’re being told right now that the winds are a little bit too much to inflate the dome, there’s still a couple of things that need to be done,” Fontaine said.
Mother nature, once again putting this project on pause.
“This is probably the second, third, or maybe even fourth time that we’ve talked about this,” Fontaine said.
A conversation we wouldn’t be having, had the original $8 million structure been able to survive Winter Storm Stella.
“We had a pretty significant weather event back in March and on that day, the dome came down. The good news is we were on break and there was nobody in the dome,” Fontaine said.
To prevent this from happening again, the dome will now include a cable cross system and special heating, for melting the snow and ice. It’ll also be taller, standing at 95 ft., a sight everyone is waiting patiently to see.
“We want to make sure this gets back up and we want to make sure the conditions are safe for everybody, as well,” Fontaine said.
It’s expected that the dome will be accessible by February 1.