Schoolcraft sports dome nears completion, grand opening set for November
By Quinn Storm and James Paxson, News Editor and Sports Editor
The sports dome has finally reached completion after months of construction and configuration. The soft official opening is set to be Nov. 4. Finally, there will be a recreational sports arena where school events, students and outside organizations will be able to gather and participate in sports and athletic activity.
“The dome is another terrific extension of the college into our community. Opportunities for all age groups such as young children, teens, students, parents and seniors will have a chance to utilize the dome. While sports activities are the primary driver, we will be able to run other community activities in the dome as well,” says Matthew Wilson, the Director of Purchasing and Business Operations at Schoolcraft.
As Schoolcraft pushes to reach students in a more personalized way, a dome for sports and recreation fits right into the agenda. Statistically speaking, students who choose to participate in events, activities and sports on campus do better overall in school. This dome provides students with an opportunity to stay and participate on campus while doing physical activity and promoting a healthy educational experience. Whether the dome is used for recreational purposes through the use of the Schoolcraft athletic programs or through the use of the soccer fields by the Wolves and Hawks, the additional time which students will be on campus far accelerates their academic success in school. The Wolves and Hawks are a local soccer club that has partnered with Schoolcraft to use and run the dome with a 25-year lease to use both the indoor and outdoor facilities, along with the office space attached to the dome.
Although the dome is on Schoolcraft land, Universal Properties privately funded the facility. This means that Schoolcraft provides both the land and the operations, while the construction costs are covered by Universal Properties. This was a $6 million investment to privately fund the dome and retain a source of income, an example being the leasing of the dome by the Wolves and Hawks who are a tenant to pay for the dome a majority of the time when the college is not using it. This 25-year dome will be paid off by the Wolves and Hawks lease. Payments from this dome are made as follows: after the first five years 2 million will be paid off, after eight years another 2 million will be paid off, after 12 years 1 million will be paid off and after 15 years the dome becomes a 50/50 split of ownership between the developer and the college. This money comes from the revenue of leasing the building and the operations that come from it, such as leasing the fields and equipment to the Wolves and Hawks soccer club. After the 25-year lease is up it will continue as the 50/50 split until the dome is not operational any longer.
The money for the dome came from the developer who put businesses in the 7 mile crossing buildings adjacent to the campus. The college owns the land but this investor owns the businesses and buildings. This developer ending up owing investors money and the buildings got put into receivership, which means that the county owned the buildings and ran them. Due to this, the dome was discussed as a private funding to make a new business investment for both the new purchaser of 7 mile crossing and the College. As a result, student tuition is not going toward this dome; therefore, tuition rates will not be affected by this new structure.
There are many benefits to the new dome for the Schoolcraft Athletics side of the College. The main benefit is utilizing that all outdoor sports can be played throughout the year inside of the dome. There are a variety of sports that can utilize the year-round operation the dome features. This includes soccer, volleyball, baseball, cross-country and softball. The ability to practice and play exhibition games or meets at anytime of the year no matter what the outside weather is will give Schoolcraft a major advantage over other Colleges.
“The benefits include the enhanced opportunities to recruit and retain student-athletes that want to continue their sport of choice in a year-round quality controlled environment,” said Athletic Director Sid Fox.
This 110,000 sq. ft. building (425 ft. by 260 ft.) will contain one FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) sized soccer field, as well as another field that will be accessible, which makes the dome useful for doing more than one game, event or class at once. The dome will be accessed on the south side by a 260 sq. ft. area, which will contain a concessions booth run by the Schoolcraft Culinary Program. The Wolves and Hawk have access to the dome during the hours of 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Other than these specific hours, Schoolcraft athletic teams and classes will be able to utilize this space for physical activity related events. Also, the space may be rented out or used by other departments on campus for events.
“We want our students to be able to experience opportunities they won’t get anywhere else… It’s kind of a full circle of opportunities that you’ll be able to get,” said Dr. Glenn Cerny, Vice President and Chief Financial Officer when asked, about the positive aspects of the dome and what the dome is expecting to bring students. The retention of students on campus will bring a higher educational benefit in the long run.