Much Anticipated Sports Dome Nears Completion

Light At the End of the Tunnel for Dome Project

Article and Photos by 25366 Mike Shewfelt

The College’s new sports dome, which anyone driving along Highway 2 has seen taking shape over the last couple of months, is finally in the home stretch of construction.

“It will be usable by Aug 20,” said 9802 John Lesperance, Project Manager for the Dome, “although it won’t be fully complete until the end of August. There are also a couple of long term items that won’t be in place, such as the three scoreboards (money for which was donated by the Class of 1962), which we hope to have in place by Reunion Weekend.”

The dome, which has yet to be named, is a marvel of modern engineering. “The Farley Group, which built it, have said it’s the second largest dome in North America, although we haven’t confirmed that. The dome itself has dimension of 85 m x 120 m, and it is 85 feet tall in the centre. It is heated by natural gas, insulated, and has a back up generator to keep the inflation unit going in the event of a power loss. The entrance has handicapped accessible washrooms and a bus lay-by out in front.”

The dome itself is designed to withstand the elements. According to Mr. Lesperance, there are sensors in place that will automatically raise the internal pressure of the dome in the event of high winds, and other sensors will automatically raise the internal temperature of the dome in the event of snowfall. “It will withstand wind speeds of up to 80 mph,” he said, “and the dome is designed so that snow will simply fall of the sides. There is a 5 m wide paved area around the sides of the dome that will allow us to remove the snow before it puts pressure on the dome walls.”

There are a couple of details left to resolve before the dome can be used for its intended purpose of allowing RMCC to complete its intramural sports programs. A crew is currently installing the artificial turf (a product known as Xtreme Turf Premiere), which should be in by Aug 1. “After that,” said Mr. Lesperance, “we have a day of training planned for Aug 8 on how to maintain the dome and the turf, and we have to finish the bus lay-by. Once that’s done the dome will be usable, although the scoreboards won’t be in just yet.”

Once completed, the dome will house a Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) standard soccer field and a rugby pitch. The soccer field can be split into two or three separate fields as required.


  • France Pellicano

    July 30, 2012 at 11:19 am

    I know I won’t win a popularity contest from this comment, but I believe that it nonetheless should be expressed, as my own reaction and that of so many Kingstonians.

    The dome will certainly be a useful addition to the sports complex of RMCC and will no doubt make the users extremely happy. Its location, though, is what I have a problem with.

    How it was allowed to literally deface one of the most beautiful landmark of Kingston simply boggles my mind, especially when DND owns so much land in this area. Despite the usefulness and practical features of this “construction”, the only sentiment it stirs as I drive by is one of shame for having plucked such an ugly thing right where such a beautiful thing used to be. So I look the other way, so to speak, and I now avoid taking visiting guests down that road anymore.

    It is most unfortunate that this was allowed to be when, with goodwill, a real win-win situation could have been created by building it up on the Base, further from the road and most importantly, not on a heritage landmark that contributed so much to Kingston’s beauty.

    France Pellicano
    Honorary Member, Ontario Association of Architects

  • Allison Taylor

    August 1, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I support France Pelicano’s observations concerning the infelicity of the soccer dome in its current location. The dome obstructs a protected view in the city’s official plan, and obstructs the view between our two UNESCO World Heritage Sites (the Rideau Canal and Fort Henry). Whereas it is true that the dome is on DND property, and DND apparently has the freedom to essentially build what it wishes on the property, I would like to point out that there was no public consultation on this project whatsoever until it was a fait accompli. CFB Kingston authorities refused to meet with a delegation of local representatives before construction began. As an ex-cadet and veteran, I feel ashamed that the dome has been constructed in such a poor location, with such little regard for input from the local community.

    6211 A. J. Taylor

  • Brian Hierlihy

    August 1, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I am certain that the dome is a welcome addition to the facilities at RMC. The remarks regarding the siting are well-taken, however. The siting decision reflects, at best, an unconscious disregard for the heritage character of the College and adjacent community. It is this heritage character that gives the campus, and the larger Kingston community its distinctive charm.

    The project may rate a high score on execution, but has a ‘fail’ on degree of difficulty resulting in a very low (1/2 – 2 ‘Unsatisfatory’) final score.