Club teams eagerly await completion of Pitt Sports Dome


All club and recreational sports teams and student groups will have access to the $13.2 million Pitt Sports Dome. Photo courtesy of Clare Sherry

By Meg Millure / Staff Writer

Pitt’s recreational sports teams currently have no place to call home, so Pitt’s giving them a dome.  

After a brief delay caused by a groundhog infestation, construction is underway at the site of a new $13.2 million air-supported domed facility behind Trees Hall.

Pitt expects the facility –– which will be known as the Pitt Sports Dome –– to be complete by early 2017, according to Pitt spokesperson John Fedele. A committee of the University’s Board of Trustees approved funding for the project at a board meeting June 23.

The Pitt Sports Dome will be available for all club and recreational sports teams as well as student groups to reserve time on one of the dome’s three synthetic turf fields, allowing them to practice year-round, regardless of weather.

“Only the synthetic [fields] will be inside the dome,” Fedele said, adding that there are no plans for ancillary facilities such as concession stands or locker rooms.

According to Andrew Earle, Pitt club soccer co-president, the domed complex was much-needed.

“We had asked if we could potentially play on the varsity team’s field just because they actually have a full field, but they shut that down quickly,” Earle said. “It was pretty well-known that a lot of the intramurals needed a new field and more space.”

Currently, the men’s club soccer team practices on a fraction of the field at the Charles L. Cost Center, often sharing the field with other sports. The team is forced to practice small-sided –– using fewer players than the traditional 11-on-11.

In addition to a lack of space, availability at the facilities currently open to club sports is an issue, resulting in late-night practices for many teams. Earle, a junior economics and math major, believes that a bigger and more accessible practice space will help the team’s performance.

“I think overall it’ll be really good for the team to have a place where we can hopefully play games and definitely practice,” Earle said.

Lucas Finalle, president of men’s club lacrosse, also has had difficulties at the Cost Center.

A sophomore rehab and exercise science major, Finalle said the team experienced similar struggles with sharing the Cost Center field and difficult practice hours. Like Earle, he too heard rumors of improvements before they were announced and detailed.

“I saw the blueprints and the financial breakdown [of the new facility] and was like, ‘Wow, they’re actually going to do something for us,’ which is crazy,” Finalle said. “That extra little boost is going to be unreal for us. I’m really happy about it.”

Along with the three synthetic fields inside the dome, new fencing will be installed and restrooms will be renovated. Also in the works is a new security kiosk and a maintenance and storage building.

According to Marilyn Ross, Pitt director of intramurals, the facility is meant to be accessible to the whole student body. Students will be able to reserve times in the dome the same way they already reserve other facilities or rooms, via Pitt’s Event Management System.