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Heavy, wet snow causes athletic domes in Maine to collapse

The recent storms dumped a significant volume of heavy and wet snow, causing both domes to collapse under the weight.

PORTLAND, Maine — Two athletic domes in Maine have collapsed under the weight of heavy, wet snow from multiple winter storms within a week. 

The indoor practice facility at the University of Maine in Orono collapsed at about 8:30 a.m. Thursday. 

According to Tyson McHatten, senior associate athletic director and spokesperson for the Black Bears, the Mahaney Dome is down, but no injuries were reported. 

"When it goes down, it is a slow process," McHatten told NEWS CENTER Maine Thursday in an email. "The structure is being evaluated in preparation for repairs." 

The Mahaney Dome was built in 2006 to be used by student-athletes as a practice facility, and its footprint is about 200-feet by 200-feet, standing about 55-feet high at the center, according to the UMaine website

In 2021, the athletic department announced on its website that the Mahaney Dome was "well past its usable life" and would eventually need to be replaced. The announcement depicted renderings of a replacement expected to last about 25 years, though a timeline for its replacement was not included in the announcement. 

The plan for the new facility, which would be located where the Mahaney Dome currently exists, reportedly would increase its usable space inside by 60 percent. 

A second athletic dome collapsed in the town of Topsham. 

The Dome at Coastal Maine Storm is an indoor training facility on Atwood Road that offers rental field space for turf sports that run the gamut from soccer to frisbee to golf. 

Program director Brendon Augustine said the dome collapsed around 4 a.m. Thursday, and the structure was damaged with a large tear from one side to the next and partially down one side. 

All activities at the dome have been canceled until further notice, Augustine told NEWS CENTER Maine, while they assess the situation to determine what would be needed for repairs. 

In 2019, crews worked to repair the Mahaney Dome, which collapsed three times within two years according to a NEWS CENTER Maine report. 

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