The YMCA hopes to fully repair and reinflate the dome at Kenneth Henderson Middle School this week after a manufacturing issue on one of the dome’s seams caused it to deflate earlier this month.

The dome went down Oct. 18 due to a faulty corner seam that had not been properly welded when manufactured, said Chad Knight, CEO of the YMCA of Southwest Kansas. Last week, the Charter Matrix Group, Inc., the company hired to install the dome, fixed the seam and reinforced the dome’s other corners at no extra cost, Knight said.

Knight said encountering and resolving the issue early was a blessing.

“It’s going to be better for us in the long run,” he said.

The dome, originally slated to open ahead of the 2017-18 school year, has faced construction delays, Knight said. Workers still need to install the floor, lights and insulation inside the dome and complete a fence and landscaping project around it, he said.

In August, Knight said the project was vying for an early September opening. Since then, he said stages of the project, particularly transporting and installing the dome, have taken longer, been more laborious and required more delays for Charter Matrix workers or parts than the company estimated and the YMCA expected. Nobody was to blame, he said. The work was just dragging.

Lee Construction Inc., in Garden City constructed the parking lot, dome foundation and floor and entry building and will complete any needed landscaping for the project, and Knight commended their work.

Once completed, the dome will be a shared space for Garden City USD 457 and the YMCA, open to KHMS activities during school hours and to the YMCA at all other times. The 118-by-223-foot facility will consist of three multipurpose courts for basketball, volleyball, soccer and tennis, a line of baseball and softball batting cages and a walking track.

Knight said he expected the dome to open by late November or early December.


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