Middlebury Recycles the Bubble

Middlebury Recycles the Bubble

October 2, 2013

As part of Middlebury College’s athletics facilities construction this summer, the Bubble has been removed and recycled. The Bubble, intended to be a temporary structure, sheltered squash courts and an indoor track at Middlebury since 2002. The dome (which weighs approximately 24,000 pounds) and its components (which weigh approximately 10,000 pounds) will be rebuilt at Castleton State College 30 miles south of Middlebury rather than deposited in a landfill.

Tim Barrett, Athletic Director at Castleton worked with Middlebury Project Manager Mark Gleason to bring the Bubble to Castleton. Barrett and Gleason discussed the original plans for the building and its energy use (the Bubble used 40,000 gallons of propane for heating and 350,000 kWh of electricity per year—the new Middlebury field house will consume less energy than the Bubble) and determined the location and ultimate uses of the new facility.

The move resulted in no net flow of money to or from Middlebury. PC Construction Company worked with Yeadon Domes, who originally installed the field house, to have the structure and its components dismantled. Castleton State College is in the process of raising the money to build the foundation and infrastructure for the new indoor facility on their campus.

The athletic department found uses for recycled materials from major projects in the past as well. In recent years the College replaced its synthetic playing field for collegiate sports. The town of Middlebury reused these materials to build an indoor playing surface for its recreation facility.

Nan Jenks-Jay, Dean of Environmental Affairs at Middlebury, credits the athletics department and Gleason for these efforts. “That the Bubble has a new home in Vermont is an impressive example of the College’s athletic department's creative initiatives to give new life to recycled materials,” says Jenks-Jay.  

Salvaging the inflatable field house exemplifies Middlebury College’s ongoing commitment to reuse and waste diversion. In keeping with Middlebury’s sustainable construction and demolition practices, project materials such as masonry, concrete, and metal will also be recycled or broken down for reuse in the deconstruction process (http://www.middlebury.edu/sustainability/resource/deconstruction).

For more information on the new field house construction visit: