The Mahaney Dome on the University of Maine campus in Orono was inflated last Thursday but damage to the the lights and the interior membrane of the dome has left it not operational yet according to Will Biberstein, the senior associate athletic director for internal operations.
The Mahaney Dome sustained two significant tears and collapsed under the weight of heavy, wet snow and high winds on Dec. 29.
The tears, which included a vertical rip that spanned 90-100 feet and horizontal tear that was 8-10 feet, were both repaired which enabled the dome to be inflated so further damage could be assessed.
“We have a subcontractor repairing the lights and university personnel are repairing the interior damage. We’ve lost some insulation,” said Biberstein.
He added that there is no timeline for when it will be operational.
“It’ll depend on how fast the repairs can be made. We have to make sure it’s safe before we can start using it again,” said Biberstein.
“We had hoped it wouldn’t have sustained as much damage as it has. There will be significant hours of work to be put in,” said Biberstein.
The dome was built in 2006 and is measures 200 feet by 200 feet and stands 55 feet high at the center. It has an artificial grass surface.
It was built with a $1 million gift from late UMaine benefactor and local businessman Larry K. Mahaney.
It collapsed under similar circumstances in 2007 and was out of service for two weeks. But there was just one tear, which spanned 16-20 feet.
The UMaine baseball and softball teams were to begin practice on Tuesday and interim baseball coach Nick Derba and softball coach Mike Coutts both had contingency plans in place in case the dome wasn’t functioning.
Both planned to use the Mitchell Batting Pavilion next to Mahaney Diamond. The New Balance Field House on campus and Sluggers Baseball and Softball Training Facility in Brewer are among other facilities that will be considered.
The UMaine football and women’s soccer teams also use the dome and campus recreation and club teams, along with community groups, are also frequent users.
The facility is in use 19 hours per day during the early spring, according to Biberstein.