SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- The nearly 38-year-old Carrier Dome, which quickly became as much a symbol of Syracuse University and its athletic teams as legendary coaches and players who wore Orange, will look vastly different by 2020, the stadium's 40th birthday.
By that fall, the iconic white dome we all know will be gone, replaced with a fixed translucent roof as part of $118 million in renovations. It's all part of the West campus transformation announced two years ago.
There will also be a new vertical scoreboard that hangs down from the center of the stadium. It will be on a track so it can be moved back and forth for basketball and football games. The renovations include state-of-the-art LED and audio systems, plus increased wifi capabilities.
By 2022, the Dome will have air conditioning, which it is somewhat infamous for not having, and newly renovated restrooms and concessions.
Right now, the roof is air-supported, but the latest rendering show a cable truss roof that university officials said may or may not remain exposed. What is certain is the effect on the university and city's look.
"It'll change the skyline a little bit. We did walk around this building to try to really see where you can really see the roof of the Carrier Dome from. How it looks from the Quad," said Pete Sala, vice president and chief facilities officer in the Division of Business, Finance and Administrative Services.
"You see it as you go down (Interstate) 81, we want to make sure that's special."
The center of the roof would be translucent to let in more natural light, but Sala said the outer 1/3rd of the roof would be solid and fixed. All told, the new roof would have a 40-year life span.
Question is: Would the Dome still, technically, be a dome? The university press release avoids both the words "dome" (in favor of stadium) and "Carrier." The air conditioning giant was a lynchpin of the Central New York economy for decades and in 1980, worked a landmark naming rights deal to permanently put the Carrier name on the stadium. But, would that still apply with these changes?
"The Dome reconstruction has nothing to do with our relationship with Carrier," said Amir Rahnamay-Azar, senior vice president and chief financial officer. "This is really just a very exciting project for us."
Steel will start to be erected in May of 2019, but school officials say none of the work will impact or displace any football games or men’s and women's basketball and lacrosse. University officials say the funding for these improvements came from philanthropy, university reserves and long term financing.
According to SU, by 2022 vistors can expect:
- A new fixed roof that with a 40-year lifestpan, allows more natural light and is more resistant to weather.
- A new vertically hung scoreboard that can be viewed from all seating.
- Significant accessibility improvements which will inclue a new accessible entrance, additional accessible restorms, an ADA-compliant elevator, five ADA electric door operations and more.
- New sound and lighting systems.
- Added Wifi capabilities.
- Air conditioning.
- New and renovated concessions.
- New and renovated bathrooms.