- Associated Press - Monday, April 29, 2019

MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Minot State University is facing some challenges maintaining the air dome over its stadium as the facility wraps up its second season.

Operators are struggling with the winter upkeep of the nearly $2 million bubble, the Minot Daily News reported.

Andy Carter, Minot State’s athletics director, said any substantial snowfall creates issues for the 86,000-square-foot (7,990-square-meter) air dome over Herb Parker Stadium. If the snow melts and hardens, it could tear the fabric and collapse the inflatable dome, he said.

Carter said crews need to monitor the dome around the clock and clear snow from its base to ensure the bubble remains ready for use.

“There’s parts of the operational aspect that tend to get tricky at times,” he said.

The university is also figuring out how to create a concession area or accommodate those who want to bring their dogs to the space.

“If it was just a training facility, it’d be so much easier because you have the public coming in and out, but we’re learning just as fast as we can,” Carter said. “We put some plywood down with some covering on it with tables and chairs and OK, there’s a concession area.”

The university has seen an average of about 20 rentals from people outside the city each season. More than 30 collegiate softball games have been played in the bubble during each of the past two seasons.

Minot State has raised about $30,000 a year in revenue, but it still isn’t enough to break even, according to Carter.

“It still operates at a loss,” Carter said. “But the service that it provides to Minot State and the community is huge.”

The university hopes to offer more time slots for the facility to be utilized by students and community members in upcoming years.


Information from: Minot Daily News, http://www.minotdailynews.com

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