By Shelby Steger – Staff Writer
The bitter cold ice storm that swarmed through the Midwest damaged the St. Ambrose University Dome. For two weeks, a group of men have been hard at work repairing the large Teflon bubble.
Not only did it cost SAU a significant amount of money, but it also delayed spring sports. Tony Huntley, the SAU facilities director, feels the Dome is an important part of the Ambrose athletics department.
“The damage that was done to the dome put a late start to all spring sports here at Ambrose,” Huntley said. “The dome has been completely fixed and it is stronger than before.”
On Dec. 22, the Ambrose Dome that sits on the right hand side of Brady Street could not handle any more winter weather. A mixture of snow and ice built up on top of the Dome and slid down like an avalanche. At the southwest corner of the circular bubble, holes were starting to form where the ice was pushing through. Eventually the durable material could not hold anymore and collapsed.
Huntley says the holes were a big issue but the even bigger issue was the other complications. Several seams were torn apart because of the all the pressure inside of the Dome. Two doors were also blown out due to the extreme amount of pressure that built up within the Dome.
“The Dome was not used from Dec. 23 through Jan. 15,” Huntley said. “Youth baseball camps were cancelled as well as soccer camps.”
Spring sports including baseball, softball and track were put on hold for a couple weeks. Track and field athletes had to practice in Lee Lohman arena. Baseball and softball practices were postponed until the Dome was back in use. Coaches were anxiously awaiting the reopening of the Dome.
Huntley says the damage cost the university a significant amount of money. However, the areas that have been patched up are stronger than the entire dome itself.
“Upon inspection the Dome seems to be in really good shape considering what happened to it,” Huntley said.
The crew that fixed the Dome patched up all of the holes that were formed from the ice. If a hole were to be two feet deep, then it was patched four feet deep.Huntley says the patching is not just super glue, it is reinforcement. The extra patching will make the life expectancy of the Dome increase to 10-12 more years. The Dome is nine years old.