A year and a half after contentious Planning Board hearings, the white bubble-like “sports dome” was inflated in Hooksett last weekend.
The facility, the NH Sportsdome, will cover an artificial turf field. A separate building houses locker rooms, and there will be space for dozens of cars to park outdoors.
The field can be rented for any sport that might be played on a field, said SportDome CEO Joel Hatin — football, baseball, soccer, field hockey or lacrosse.
Hatin said he and his business partner both live in Hooksett, and said it was important for them to build their first facility in the town where they live.
“We wanted to put together an elite surface for children, young adults and college students to be able to use,” Hatin said, something that would be close in quality to a professional field. The dome sits less than a mile from the Southern New Hampshire University campus. “We’re really excited to bring this to town,” Hatin said Saturday.
The dome is just off Route 3 in Hooksett, on Benton Road behind a large strip mall.
When it was first brought before the town Planning Board in 2019, the dome drew the ire of neighbors worried about traffic, and some Planning Board members objected to the bubble-like shape on the grounds that it might not conform with design requirements.
But the dome was approved by a 4-3 vote of the Planning Board in May 2019, and Hatin said the town has since been a good partner.
The dome was inflated Saturday morning. Hatin said Saturday that work would begin on the inside of the dome this week. He hoped to begin renting out the field in the first week of February.
“We’ve got lots of interest from folks,” Hatin said, teams and leagues looking for a place to hold practice over the winter.
He said the current surge of COVID-19 is not of great concern, saying he believes the field is large enough to allow for social distancing.