Lakeville South, North at odds over new sports dome

The future site of a potential sports dome in Lakeville is under debate. The facility would be available for athletes from both of the city's high schools, but it's where the dome should go that's upsetting people.

The dome is supposed to go behind Lakeville North near the soccer fields, but many families who send their kids to Lakeville South say the dome should be on neutral grounds.

Domes are popping up more frequently across the state to allow sports teams to train inside during poor weather. Several neutral sites were discussed for the dome, which would give both high school sports teams access, as well as the greater community.

Then, a private investment company called Dome Partners, LLC stepped in and offered up a proposal to build behind Lakeville North.

“We need to see the equity between North and South…plain and simple. North always seems to be the ones to get the turf of the fields and now we are talking about a dome at their location versus equality for the both schools,” said Steve Steinhagen, a Lakeville South parent.

Steinhagen said he only found out about this new proposal recently. He and other parents like Jeff Vanden Busch feel like the project is being fast-tracked without any transparency from the school board.

“There’s a coined phrase in Lakeville—everyone knows it—and it’s ‘North or none,’" Vanden Bush said.

Dome Partners would apparently build the facility at no cost to the taxpayer and would manage the dome from November through April. The school district would cover additional costs throughout the rest of the year, and the agreement would last two decades.

Lakeville North football coach Brian Vossen said although the new dome would be more logistically convenient for students at North, he hopes the community sees the bigger picture of moving forward with the project.

"There has to be an understanding that there are already inequities that are there and we could go through the laundry list of things the two schools don’t have that are perfectly the same for both, but in order for the community to grow you have to take advantage of opportunities as they arise,” Vossen said.

“It is very important to understand that the Board has not made any decisions on this issue and will consider all the potential implications of moving forward with such a major project in our community,” added Lakeville Superintendent Michael Baumann.