By DIANE TURNER-HURNS
Journal & Topics Reporter
Rosemont officials Monday morning said the cause of Sunday’s (Aug. 2) collapse of the three-year-old Dome at the Ballpark sports facility following a powerful storm remained under investigation.
However, they were thankful that no one was injured as hundreds of children, parents, players and staff had just left the Dome after a Chicago Bandits fastpitch camp for kids.
“The important thing is that no one was hurt,” Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens told the Journal & Topics while surveying the Dome on Monday. Stephens was touring the damaged area with a representative from St. Louis-based Arizon, the builder of the Dome, and an insurance adjuster. The damage inspection began around 9 a.m.
Mayor Stephens expected plans to rebuild the Dome may be done by the end of the week and that a new roof could be completed in three months.
The Dome at the Ballpark in Rosemont is an indoor sports facility on Jennie Finch Way just west of Pearl Street. It was opened in November 2012 just west of the Ballpark at Rosemont where the Bandits play.
Moments before the structure collapsed Sunday, strong winds, hail and rain were reported in the area.
According to Rosemont Chief of Public Safety Donald E. Stephens III, the last scheduled group that rented the facility Sunday was out of the building by 2 p.m.
“Once we get the okay, hopefully later today, we can move the damaged materials from the area and begin taking inventory of the damage,” Mayor Stephens said Monday. “Right now the company representative and the insurance adjuster are looking at the damage. We are also looking at the strength of the fabric. It was a strong storm with wind that ripped sections of the fabric right out of the concrete.”
Stephens said the village has a 20-year warranty with Arizon for the Dome and that when the structure was being designed, village officials ordered a stronger fabric to use.
Monday, pieces of fabric, lights and wall segments were strewn throughout the area with several layers of fabric sitting on the roof of The Dome at the Ballpark entrance. On the south end of the Dome site, one could see where the fabric had been ripped out from the concrete. Interior light fixtures and parts of interior walls were strewn hundreds of yards landing in a field near the road. Officials said no electrical cables, which ran throughout the Dome and part of the fabric, appeared to be broken.
“We paid $2.4 million for the Dome and of that we paid $1.5 million for the fabric,” Stephens said.
As for the Ballpark where the Bandits play next door, officials said the only damage from the Sunday storm was a practice bullpen interior gate on the third base side had been pulled up from its concrete fixture.
“It may cost under $5,000 to fix that gate,” Mayor Stephens said. “Again, luckily no one was injured at the Ballpark as well, but it was strange as it was an interior gate. Nothing else there was damaged, even the flags were OK.”
Chicago Bandits intern Gigi Moore said when the storm came through the Ballpark, everyone quickly gathered for shelter. “Many of us went into the bathroom where it was safe,” Moore said. “There were about 30 of us in that one bathroom. We all went into crisis mode and no one was hurt.” The Sunday game was cancelled and rescheduled for Monday.
Mayor Stephens said once the cause has been identified they can move forward with developing a plan to rebuild. Officials, noting this occurrence was unusual, said it may take more than a week to identify the cause of the collapse.
“We will also be reviewing exterior and interior video of the occurrence to learn more about the Dome’s collapse,” Mayor Stephens said. “We should have a plan by the end of this week. Once that is ready I believe we can have the Dome rebuilt in three months.”
Officials were concerned about how to protect the existing and exposed area of the Dome from future inclement weather while plans are being made to rebuild.
Stephens said he was in his basement at home when he got a call about the Dome.
“I really thought they were busting my chops,” he said. “Chris (Stephens) had been checking the neighborhood for storm damage and he sent me the photo of the downed Dome.”
According to officials the 20-year warranty on the Dome with Arizon should cover rebuilding expenses. The village has all-risk property insurance coverage which includes business interruption and extra expenses coverage. This coverage would include costs for lost future and business. Officials said insurance coverage and costs are being discussed with Arizon.
The area will remain cordoned off until further notice, according to public safety officials.
In addition, Chicago Bandits cancelled Sunday’s game against the Pennsylvania Rebellion was rescheduled for 10 a.m. Monday.
Baseball, softball, volleyball, football, fast pitch, and lacrosse are played at the Dome, which according to officials has the largest air suspended roof in North America. The Dome includes two indoor diamonds complete with fences and moveable bases.
Arizon Structures is a wholly owned subsidiary of Arizon Companies. The company notes on its website that there are Arizon structures around the world in a variety of climates, designed and engineered to handle heavy snow and wind loads, natural disasters, and meet all International Building Codes (IBC). The Arizon representative in Rosemont Monday declined to talk to the media. A call to Arizon was not immediately returned.