As we navigate this unique year, we have faced a difficult decision regarding an amenity that we have had the blessing of using each past 5 years. We have made the operational decision not to install our dome this season for several reasons, guided by stewardship of your tuition and gift dollars.  

(1) The anticipated expenses of dome set up and take down are much higher this year.  Last year the expense was $62,000.  Bids this year put the figure nearer $127,500, due to COVID-restriction-related labor costs.  Added to anticipated costs of dome operation of $129,770, total expenses will exceed a quarter-million dollars.

(2) Our community’s dome use is almost entirely underwritten yearly by rentals from partner organizations.  This past year, our partners were unable to use the dome after March 15, and PA incurred $42,600 in lost revenue due to our renters’ inability to use it and thus their inability to pay.  Further, we face unpaid invoices by a past renter totaling $103,000, which we are taking measures to recoup.  This year’s COVID situation makes difficult any reckoning of steady renter income, given the disease itself, public policy around it, etc.

(3) PA had to keep the dome up at our expense for two additional months this spring, given a stay-at-home order that made takedown impossible.  (PA is required by City of Plymouth Ordinance to have the dome up for no more than 6 months, under regular circumstances.) We cannot anticipate how take-down timelines might be affected this year.

(4) The majority of domes that are currently up were never taken down in the spring due to the pandemic. A large number of these domes are run by city recreation departments, while others have multiple-year contracts with renters.  Our contracts are made year to year.

(5) A not insignificant consideration is the health and safety of our own community members. Welcoming outside members into PA spaces daily could create higher risks of exposure to COVID, at the very time we are taking extra precautions throughout our facilities to reduce non-community traffic including that of our own parents.

It is with a heavy heart that I share this operational decision, because the dome is a special amenity.  We will remain committed to full and extensive community use of all the rest of our spaces throughout the winter and spring.

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