Almost a year after its collapse, the Dome in Anchorage, Alaska, is finally reopening, and Washington Rock’s infill sand is part of the new interior.
On January 21, 2017, the roof of the Dome slowly sank under the weight of fast-accumulating snow. In the early hours of the next morning, the crew abandoned efforts to clear the snow and evacuated the building.
Daylight showed the aftermath: huge swaths of fabric draped over stadium seating, exposed vending machines, and doors standing upright without walls.
A Community Icon
The collapse of the Dome was devastating for the community, which relies on the facility during the harsh winter months to stay active.
“Living in Alaska, [it is] cold and dark all winter long,” explained DayLa Leffel, a resident of nearby Palmer, Alaska. “. . . It’s nice to be able to, in the middle of January or February, . . . go into a nice, warm facility with large fields, with great turf, and be able to really play a full-size game.”
The Dome is one of the largest facilities of its kind. With 180,000 square feet of space, it has soccer and football fields, batting cages, and a 400-meter USA Track and Field-certified track. In addition to sports activities, the Dome is used for events like Hmong New Year.
Johann Koenig, an Anchorage resident, takes his children to the Dome to get their energy out. The Dome is “a really neat tool that brings everyone together,” Johann said.
Restoring the Dome was an intensive process. Just two weeks ago, FieldTurf employees were putting the finishing touches on the synthetic turf fields. That included spreading Washington Rock’s infill sand over the turf to provide support for gameplay.
FieldTurf representative Sam Davis said that he prefers to use Washington Rock’s infill sand. “It feels like it moves better. But it also feels like it compacts better,” he explained. “. . . You can still have some play with it before it really settles.”
The infill sand went on a long journey to get to the Dome. After being processed, dried, and loaded into Super Sacks at King Creek Pit in Orting, Washington, the sand was trucked to the Port of Tacoma and loaded onto a barge. After almost two weeks on the water, the barge arrived at the Port of Anchorage where the bags were offloaded and freighted to the Dome.
“The thing that makes our product so unique is that we can bag it and have it dried the way our customers need it,” said Washington Rock representative Dale Mortensen. “Customers know the product’s going to be clean, it’s going to be dry, and it’s going to be in spec.”
Football practice began last week after the fields were finished, and the Dome opened to the general public over the weekend.
“No matter what part of the community you’re from, it’s a community feeling when you walk [into the Dome]. We’re all together,” Leffel explained. “. . . I know that everybody’s really excited to have it come back and be able to participate in it.”