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Bubble reinflated; repairs continue

Sports facility at FPU collapsed in Feb.

  • Franklin Pierce University's North Field's Activity Center, an air-inflated structure known as the Bubble, was re-inflated Wednesday afternoon after collapsing during a February Nor'easter.<br/><br/>Courtesy photo

RINDGE — Franklin Pierce University celebrated the inflation of its North Fields Activity Center, an air-inflated structure known as The Bubble, on Wednesday afternoon. But university officials say the approximately two-hour long inflation was just step one of a lengthy repair process.

During a February Nor’easter, the Bubble collapsed due to strong winds and heavy snow , and has since been closed.

FPU’s Director of Recreation Doug Carty said by phone Wednesday that the university plans to have the facility up and running for the fall semester when classes resume. “But it would be fantastic to have it available for summer programs, too,” he said.

Since the Bubble’s collapse, the university has removed all sports equipment that was inside and temporarily housed it in storage trailers, according to Carty. He said the university will be working with its insurance company to determine what equipment can be refurbished and what will need to be replaced.

As early as Monday, contractors are expected to be on campus to assess the damage to the Bubble’s floor and determine what, if any, repairs are necessary, according to Carty.

He said it is uncertain at this time how much total repairs will cost, but the school has a comprehensive insurance policy.

“The important piece today is that the symbol of the facility is being restored,” Carty said.

When facility collapsed in February, members of the sports recreation facility were offered a refund or extension.

“Most decided to stay with us,” Carty said of the approximately 360 residents from across the Monadnock region who pay monthly dues to use the facility. “When the facility is once again operational, we’ll call everyone to let them know.

The recreational facility is used by both university students and staff, as well as members of the local community. FPU has a number of daily users who each pay $5 a day to use the Bubble, according to Murray.

The Bubble is an air-inflated structure that covers 72,000 square feet and reaches seven stories high, according to the university’s website. It consists of an airframe covered with architectural fabric and is held up by a constant air flow between an outer and inner lay­er of the material.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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