There’s no place like dome 0
Active Life Conditioning’s Sarah Applegarth (left) and Graeme Buckrell join board members Don Gallinger, Matthew Lidbetter, Principal Roberta Murray-Hirst, and Roy Johnson on the site of the future dome on Tuesday September 4, 2012. Emily Innes, Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin
COLLINGWOOD – The Pretty River Academy soccer field will soon be accessible to the school and the community year-round with the construction of an air dome.
Earlier this month the private school’s officials signed a lease with Yeadon Air Supported Structures to build the dome by mid to late October.
Partners with the project stressed the dome will be beneficial for the school and the town.
“As soon as school is over, the community will be involved for programs,” said Matthew Lidbetter, the school’s board chair. “It’s not just for the school, it’s really for Collingwood and for the area as a whole.”
The school partnered with Active Life Conditioning, a Collingwood health and fitness training centre, to run programming in the dome for their students and for local athletes.
“We are getting quite limited with where you can have green space for kids to run around, so we are very excited to have a covered space that you can use in the winter,” said Sarah Applegarth, founder of Active Life Conditioning. “It (will be) safe for kids with a proper flooring and proper support for young joints, so they can do the things they need to be doing.”
Applegarth and partner Graeme Buckrell said the dome will act as a hub for Active Life Conditioning.
“We plan to offer programming for community athletes and as well as outside programming for other sports. We really want to target the local Collingwood community and create strong alliances between the current (sport communities),” said Buckrell. “We don’t want to run competition against them, we want to work with them.”
The dome will cover the $500,000 full-sized artificial turf field that was completed in 2010 despite resistance from groups who argued the money, received from the federal and provincial government, should not have been granted to a private facility.
The school’s principal, Roberta Murray-Hirst, said the facility has been used by other schools, soccer clubs, summer camps, and even birthday parties.
“It’s been quite a diversity of use to date and when it’s covered that is going to be even more extensive,” she said.
Hirst said user groups have expressed interest in using the field for ultimate Frisbee, lawn bowling, soccer, rugby, and dry land training – especially with ski clubs.
The field breaks down into three mini soccer fields and one full-sized field. The stitching marks the soccer field but can be temporarily converted for other purposes.
The funding for this project has come exclusively from investors. Don Gallinger, the school’s co-treasurer and primary investor, said he backed the project because an indoor facility is something the community was missing and the turf needs protecting.
“So many of our citizens go all the way to Barrie or Owen Sound to play soccer, because we don’t have the facility here yet. So, once it’s here it will be great – save gasoline and hours of time,” he said.
Murray-Hirst said during back-to-school on Tuesday, the students were excited about the dome. She said they will receive a science lesson while it’s inflated, and then it will become an integral part of their physical education program.