New Dome Will be a Home for Athletics


A rendered prototype of the sports dome that will be built on Misericordia’s campus

Kobe Martin, Reporter

A dome that will be used by many university athletic teams will come to Misericordia in fall 2023.

Although the dome has been approved by Dallas Township officials, the university has had some difficulty making it a reality.

“The board approved a dome a couple years ago,” said Chuck Edkins, athletic director. “It was 150 feet wide by 300 feet long. There was a discussion at the athletics level and at the board of trustees’ level. Let’s not make this too small. Can we make this a little bit bigger? So the university heard that and went forward in putting plans together to see if we could expand the size of the dome. I give them great credit for that.”

The troubles of the dome’s height and width came into effect.

“There is an ordinance in Dallas which discusses the height,” said Edkins. “You can’t go higher than 55 feet. The width of the dome would’ve caused our height to be 79 feet. So in order to try to expand the dome, we had to go through zoning and the proper protocols and processes to try to get a variance. We would like to build the dome at 79 feet high. We were not approved for that variance, so then we had to go back and resize the dome again.”

Plans changed that put the dome at a road block but that didn’t stop Coach Edkins and university officials from problem solving.

“It’s bigger than the original one, 50 by 300,” Edkins added. “Not as big as we were hoping for, but we got something in between that would put that height at about 55, so it’s a little bit bigger. So it became a process delay in terms of us trying to get a little bit [better] in terms of size and usability.”

The university has already made progress towards production.

“I’m sure you’ve noticed, we’ve taken trees down back by Mangelsdorf Field. So the next permit that we need is to be able to remove the stumps from those trees,” Edkins said. “So you [need to] get a permit for a little bit of everything. The plan right now is to have everything completed by November 2023.

“A major portion of the work will occur at the end of this semester once students have vacated campus so that everyone can work safely back there because there’s going to be so much traffic in and out, obviously large vehicles and construction,” he continued.

The benefits of this dome will not only assist student-athletes on campus but also non-student athletes, as well as offer options to do more.

“One of the pieces that was so important to the university, the Anderson Center, has undergone a great deal of stress, especially from January through March under normal circumstances,” Edkins said. “But from January to March, more times than not, we have teams practicing from six in the morning up until two in the afternoon, and then we start again at four, and we could go as late as midnight. Well, the problem with that is we weren’t able to provide any type of recreation or intramural.”

The dome would assist in solving this issue by allowing student-athletes to practice indoors if weather prevents them from using outdoor facilities. Misericordia hopes all sports teams, students and the Dallas community can benefit from this multi-purpose facility.

“Our university community will have first priority, of course, but I think we have the opportunity to support our outside community, as well, and work with the mission of the university in hospitality,” Edkins added. “It’s one of the most exciting, if not the most exciting, athletic facilities we’re going to have.”

The dome will not only benefit athletics, but enrollment, as well.

“There are not a lot of domes on college and university campuses so I think this can be a separator,” Edkins said. “I think it will help us with enrollment. I think it helps us with recruiting.”

Junior softball pitcher Sophia Defebo offered input on the dome.

“The dome will benefit the softball team for many reasons,” Defebo said. “During the season when it rains, we can practice in the dome instead of canceling practice. The dome will mostly help the softball team during the off season because the we have to be extremely careful of not breaking things for other teams in the gym while we are hitting or fielding.

“The gym is crazy busy in January and February with all the other sports trying to get gym time,” she added. “So the dome is a better area for the softball team to practice in the off season.”