A seven-story dome is rising in Rosemont for sports fans.
The village last week began installing the artificial turf for a new athletic training facility on village-owned property adjoining The Ballpark at Rosemont, north of Balmoral Avenue and west of the Tri-State Tollway.
The facility will offer local and regional athletic teams, including the Chicago Bandits professional women's softball team, an indoor space to practice year round.
The dome, measuring 565 feet in length and 250 feet in width, is being built by St. Louis-based Arizon Structures. The vinyl fabric for the dome, which comes in 6,000-pound rolls, will cover two fields. It will be installed early this week, then inflated with three giant air handlers with backup generators.
"It's the biggest air-suspended dome in North America," Rosemont Mayor Bradley Stephens said. "This is going to be a tremendous draw just in itself. It probably takes a week or so to assemble it before it can start being inflated."
Rosemont isn't the only suburb with a multipurpose sports dome.
Others in area include the 62,000-square-foot, heated Bolingbrook Sports Dome currently under renovation off Route 53, among the biggest indoor golf facilities in the Chicago area, also used for softball and kickball practice; and the climate-controlled Bridgeview Sports Dome, which includes a 90,000-square-foot artificial turf field, also used for indoor soccer, softball, baseball, whiffle ball and football practice.
Rosemont's dome is the final piece of Rosemont's Ballpark, where officials hosted the 2012 National Pro Fastpitch Championship Series in August.
Yet, it's not necessarily the end of Stephens' vision for transforming Rosemont into a sports and recreation hub.
With three athletic fields between the dome and the Stadium at the Ballpark, it will draw teams and tournaments from throughout the region and nation, Stephens predicted.
"This isn't just about an athletic facility," Stephens said. "We're planning on doing tournaments throughout the year. There's multiple uses for this facility -- soccer, lacrosse, baseball, softball. There's the possibility of leagues. This place will be a very busy location."
Other projects in the works within the village include relocation of the Big Ten Conference's headquarters into a three-story office building to be constructed next to the Aloft hotel just south of Rosemont's MB Financial Park at Rosemont entertainment district.
Stephens also would like to see a roughly 10-acre property north of Balmoral Avenue across from the Park at Rosemont developed into a family-friendly venue such as an indoor water park/hotel. Previous ideas for that site have included a multilevel indoor soccer facility.
Center: Dome is finishing piece of Ballpark