On October 26, the Minnesota State University, Mankato sports dome once again opened its doors to the MNSU students and faculty for open dome time. The dome is located in the back of the University’s lots 21 and 22, making it easy for anyone to access it. This facility allows room for multiple sport fields and batting cages for a variety of activities.
This year, due to COVID-19, the University’s administration had to make numerous changes to how the arena is run and what activities can be done inside the arena to keep all participants safe and healthy. One of the main things they have enforced is that the facility will not be allowing anyone to participate in any activity that you cannot social distance in.
An example of a non-socially distant activity would be soccer. To make up for this, the faculty in the sports dome thought of new activities for students to participate in.
“We brought over corn hole sets and spike ball equipment,” says Ben Nelson, Marketing and Facilities Program Coordinator at MNSU.
All of this equipment, among many more, will be able for checkout at the front desk. This will allow students to have a fun time with a competitive spirit while also being socially distant.
Nelson also stated, “We’ve also decided to host some events in order to gain the interest of students who don’t typically use the dome. On a regular basis now on Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings, is dedicating a field to kickball because that’s something you can do relatively socially distanced.”
Students are allowed to use the batting cages if they provide their own helmets, balls, and bats. Students are also able to kick around balls, take penalty kicks, and do soccer drills.
“We are just not allowing full games right now,” says Nelson, in order to take as many precautions as possible.
The administration is wanting to provide the best for the MNSU community and wanting to make the sports dome participant’s experience the best it can be.
“We’re being forced to think a little differently and creativity about things we can do in the dome,” Nelson explained.
In the past, non-student community members have been allowed to participate in the sports dome facilities. However, this year they are not allowed to do so.
According to Nelson, “The worst thing that could happen is we have a COVID-19 hotspot happen at the dome and then we have to shut it down. Currently, the dome will not be hosting any non-student community members to keep the campus and the community safe, and we have hopes that in the early spring semester we will consider to open it up to all community members. We will be watching the COVID-19 cases in Blue Earth County, and if the numbers seem low enough, we will consider opening back up for everyone.”
The sports dome will be open for walk-in services for all students every Sunday through Thursdays from 7-11 p.m. With it already being open, it will continue to run until the Monday before Thanksgiving break. It will then open back up in the spring until around mid April.