The Edge Sports Center’s Bubble

Bedford Youth Lacrosse players during their first practice in the bubble.
Bedford Youth Lacrosse players during their first practice in the bubble. Image (c) JMcCT, 2012

By Julie McCay Turner

The first of The Edge Sports Center’s turf fields went into use on January 10 with a practice for Bedford Youth Lacrosse.

Located in the curve of Hartwell Road adjacent to Hanscom Field, on land previously used for a mobile home park associated with the Air Force installation at Hanscom, the field is enclosed by a pressurized bubble. Preparation of the land began in July, 2012.

Giant air handling units keep the dome inflated without interior structural supports. Should winter weather indicate an impending snow storm, an HVAC unit capable of 5 million BTUs will heat the interior air well beyond its typical 55 degrees to warm the bubble’s outer skin. At the same time the bubble’s air pressure will be increased to make the structure sufficiently resilient to slough off any snow that might accumulate.

The bubble’s prime contractor, Eastern Air Management of New York, a company also installed similar structures at Harvard and Boston College.

Click here for photographs of the bubble’s construction.

To learn more about The Edge Sports Center, visit their website, or read Part One of The Citizen’s introduction to The Edge and its ice hockey programs. Part Two of The Citizen’s introduction to The Edge is forthcoming and will feature its field sports programs.

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Brian DeVellis
Brian DeVellis
9 years ago

To those with concerns over the lights … rest assured they are a temporary safety measure until the parking lights are completed this spring – at which time the bubble will be coming down for the summer anyway.

I do happen to be very proud of what we have accomplished and built here in Bedford over the past 5 years, having grown up in town and chosing to establish this facility here – and would never want to inhibit the idillic stting of the night sky next to the former Ait Force Base, Instrumentation Laboratories of the superfund Navy hangar on the hill. For those of you who pay attention, we built this facility during the YMCA discussions and in half the time as the town has owned the St. Michael’s land – so I am proud but have never been accused of wanting to show it off.
However, we thought in the short term it was more important to provide safety to our patrons. Nonetheless, the lights will soon be lighting only a soccer field this spring, and when the bubble is re-erected next fall the field lights will be shut off.
If you have any other concerns, please feel free to stop in and see me – I am at the Edge every day, nights and weekends and have harldy been called unreachable. That might be much more productive than posting either here or in the Minuteman or in a ‘formal’ way.

Alan MacRobert
Alan MacRobert
9 years ago

The bubble has one big drawback for residents within a couple miles if it, and that is that Edge has chosen to shine dazzlingly brilliant lights on its white *outside* surface during the night. This make the bubble so bright that it spoils the darkness of the night sky for a radius of at least a two miles. There is now a white glow over that whole part of town.

The Edge folks are understandably proud of the bubble and clearly like to show it off at night, but now that we all have seen it and know it’s there, can they please stop illuminating its outside so brightly. The field can be lit from the inside.


Alan MacRobert

260 Davis Rd.

9 years ago
Reply to  Alan MacRobert


concerned bedford resident
concerned bedford resident
9 years ago
Reply to  Alan MacRobert

Completely Agree!!! The bright lights are really invasive and prevent the surrounding areas from having the natural darkness of the night. Will the bubble respond to these concerns or have these concerns been brought up in any formal way yet? It’s a real concern for all who live in within the large glow of the bubble and may have considerable impact on the natural world around the area.

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