Domed sports complex proposed for Wildwood Highlands
A new sports center, complete with a soccer-sized field in an enclosed dome, is set to be located off of Wildwood Road per approval by Hampton Township Council at its April 25 meeting.
The recreational facility would join the site of the existing Wildwood Highlands family entertainment center. The Wildwood Sports Center will feature an inflatable dome structure with a two-acre indoor field that could be used for various adult and youth field sports, according to Steven Victor, owner of landscape designer Victor-Wetzel Associates.
He along with developer Kevin Riley, president at the Penn Cove Group Real Estate, presented the plan to the Hampton Township Council at its agenda meeting April 11.
At last week’s meeting, council approved a revised site plan and lot consolidation contingent on several conditions required by the township to be met by the developer, Penn Cove Group of Pittsburgh.
The sports center will be actually connected to the Wildwood Highlands entertainment center, which will also undergo a major update, according to Riley. The 42-acre property is actually split into two lots, so the applicant sought and was approved for lot consolidation.
PCG is purchasing the entertainment portion from its current owner, Vince Rutledge, said Erin Remaley, director of marketing at the Penn Cove Group Capital. She said both the president and vice president of PCGRE are from the Hampton area so they are excited to “see Hampton grow.”
For those familiar with the site, the go-kart and bumper boats currently there will be eliminated in order to accommodate the sports center, parking lot and other various needs such as a detention pond. The miniature golf course will remain, said Victor.
Two egresses are planned for the entire site, one of which is currently there, off of Wildwood Road. The other will be located in the southern, back portion of the site with access and parking compliant to the American Disability Act specifications, he said. A recent traffic study for the area also had satisfactory results.
The domed bubble will house the indoor field and can be used for athletic groups, training facilities and rentals, said Victor. They are also received a variance to exceed Hampton’s 35-foot-high structural limit, to 85 feet, due to the dome.
“When you’re playing soccer, you can kick it pretty high,” said Victor. Riley also said one of the reasons they chose the spot is because the surrounding terrain is higher than the dome would be.
Martin Orban, zoning officer for Hampton said the developer must not put signage on the dome roof and its color should be as such that it blends with the surrounding environment.
If approved and all goes as planned, Riley said an aggressive construction timeline could provide for a Nov. 1 opening. He said the center will probably be most utilized during the fall and winter season.
“We do believe there is substantial demand for youth athletics and youth-based programming,” said Riley, who lives in the North Hills. He said it will service Hampton residents and all of the North Hills area.
Penn Cove Group also developed the Cool Springs sports center in the South Hills.
The applicant also said the construction of these domes is not as time-consuming as other structures.
Christopher Lochner, municipal manager for the township, said letters were sent to residents in the surrounding areas to notify them of all meetings related to the development.
Victor said they are adjacent to Pine Creek, but their site plans address required floodway and floodplain regulations and Orban said there are a few conditions they need to meet here.
Lochner noted that the area has had some flooding issues in the past.
The dome is pressurized and can be deflated and inflated when needed, according to a representative of Arizon Buildings Systems in St. Louis, Mo., which specializes in these structures. They also can withstand snow accumulation and are designed with the same required building codes as other facilities.
Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.