The Mahaney Dome on Long Rd. an important structure for a number of athletic organizations — particularly in the winter — was built in 2006 with a $1 million gift from late UMaine athletics benefactor and local businessman Larry K. Mahaney.
The dome measures 200 feet by 200 feet at the base and stands 55 feet high at the center. The roof material consists of an inner layer and an outer layer.
The dome has been a valuable facility for many years for UMaine athletic teams, students and even members of the community. Clinics of all sorts and for all ages are held in the dome. Though it is primarily used for UMaine’s football, baseball, softball and women’s soccer teams as well as the club teams and intramurals.
The facility is usually used for 19 hours per day.
“It is an important facility for the campus and the community. Being able to have that indoor space during the hard winter months is important for everybody,” Will Bernstein, the Senior Associate Athletic Director for internal operations, said.
The dome collapsed in late December under the weight of heavy snow, much like a storm back in 2007 that caused the dome to collapse, which was then out of service for two weeks.
The weight of the snow from the December 2016 storm caused a vertical tear that spanned 90 to 100 feet and a horizontal tear that was 8 to 10 feet.
According to Biberstein, it took approximately two weeks to get all the snow off and the damage repaired, and then it was inflated again. “We continued to do some assessment and repair the inside and we made the dome operational again,” Biberstein said.
Engineers evaluated the re-inflated dome and gave them the green light for temporary occupancy, meaning the dome must be inspected daily for safety and closed for severe weather.
The Black Bear softball and baseball teams were some of the first to use it after it was reopened after having to temporarily practice in the New Balance Field House.
On Friday, Feb. 3, the dome was found with 17 cuts to the outside surface located on the south side that happened the night previously.
“We discovered vandalism Friday morning. The dome stayed inflated and we did the repairs that day,” Biberstein said.
There is no video surveillance of the incident.
Chief Roland LaCroix of the University of Maine Police Department says that suspects are still unknown at this time, but if caught they will be charged with criminal mischief.
The Division of Student Life and UMPD are offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the vandalism.
Contact Detective Keith Mercier at 207.581.4072 or by email (email@example.com) with information.
Anonymous tips can be left via Campus Eyes (http://umaine.edu/police/campus-eyes).