The Carrier Dome is a 49,250-seat domed sports stadium located on the campus of Syracuse University in the University Hill neighborhood of Syracuse, New York. It is home to the Syracuse Orange football, basketball, and lacrosse teams. The Syracuse Orange men's basketball team drew the highest average home attendance in college basketball in 2015-16, with an average of 26,253. In 2006–07, the women's basketball team began playing home games in the Carrier Dome. New York high school football state championships as well as the annual New York State Field Band Conference championships are held in the stadium, as are occasional concerts.
"The Loud House"
The Carrier Dome during a Syracuse basketball game in 2013
|Address||900 Irving Avenue|
|Location||Syracuse, New York|
|Capacity||Football: 49,262 (2003–present)|
|Record attendance||(Football), 50,564 (September 20, 1980)|
(Basketball), 35,642 (February 23, 2019)
|Broke ground||November 11, 1978|
|Opened||September 20, 1980|
|Construction cost||$25.63 million|
Hueber Hares Glavin
|Structural engineer||Geiger Associates|
|General contractor||Huber, Hunt & Nichols|
|Syracuse Orange (NCAA) (1980–present)|
The Carrier Dome is the largest domed stadium of any college campus, and the largest domed stadium in the Northeastern United States. It is also the largest on-campus basketball arena in the nation, with a listed capacity of 33,000. However, that number has been exceeded on many occasions with a record attendance of 35,642.
Toward the end of the 1970s, Syracuse University was under pressure to improve its football facilities in order to remain a Division I-A football school. Its on-campus stadium, Archbold Stadium, had been built in 1907 and had not aged well. The stadium could not be expanded; earlier in the decade it had been reduced from 40,000 seats to 26,000 due to stricter enforcement of fire codes. Therefore, Syracuse University decided to build a new stadium on the site of Archbold, which, appropriately for Syracuse's often cold weather, was to have a domed Teflon-coated, fiberglass inflatable roof. While the Carrier Dome was being built during the 1979 season, Syracuse played "home" games at three different locations—Giants Stadium, home of the NFL's New York Giants; Rich Stadium (now known as New Era Field), home of the NFL's Buffalo Bills; and Schoellkopf Field, home of the Cornell Big Red. When it opened in September 1980, it was made clear just how loud it was inside; that night the Carrier Dome's famous nickname, "the Loud House", was coined. The original inflatable roof, since replaced by a fixed roof, caused the sound produced to echo many times, multiplying the loudness produced inside. It would also serve as the home for the men's basketball team, as a replacement for Manley Field House.
Syracuse University's men's basketball per-game and single-season attendance numbers are annual contenders for the top rank in the nation. Lacrosse crowds are not as large, but the venue allows Syracuse's lacrosse teams to play home games throughout the February–May regular season.
The Carrier Dome has seen many of NCAA basketball's largest crowds. On February 1, 2014, the attendance record for an NCAA men's basketball on-campus game was broken by a few hundred spectators in the Duke vs. Syracuse ACC matchup. Attendance was announced as 35,446, as Syracuse went on to win 91-89, in dramatic fashion in overtime. This win marked the 21st straight win of the season for the Orange, breaking a school record for the longest unbeaten streak to start a season. The previous attendance record was set February 23, 2013 (35,012), the final game vs. long-standing Big East Conference rivals Georgetown Hoyas, as a member of the Big East. The Orange were defeated 57-46, ending the Orange's home win-streak at 38 games. Prior to the Georgetown Hoyas attendance record, Syracuse University held the previous attendance record also. On February 27, 2010, an announced attendance of 34,616 came to see the Orange beat the Villanova Wildcats 95-77. University officials briefly considered moving the basketball court to the middle of the football field for the 2014 regular season game with Duke- a move that could have pushed the attendance over 50,000. It was decided, to appease season ticket holders, that the court would stay in its usual location. However, the university did reconfigure the Carrier Dome to hold a new record capacity of 35,446.
For the 2018–19 season, Syracuse modified the Carrier Dome's basketball configuration to allow a maximum crowd of 35,642, and on February 23, 2019, the Orange drew that exact number for the visit of then top-ranked Duke, setting a new single-game record for on-campus college basketball attendance. This number ultimately surpassed the entire regular-season home attendance of 180 different NCAA Division I men's teams in that same season—more than half of the 353 teams that played in Division I.
On November 22, 2014, the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League set a new "United States Indoor Professional Hockey" record by playing in front of 30,715 fans at the Carrier Dome for the "Toyota Frozen Dome Classic". Syracuse defeated the Utica Comets 2-1. The (SUNY) Oswego State Lakers also hosted a game against the Utica Pioneers, establishing an NCAA record attendance for a Division III hockey game at 7,074 fans. Oswego tied Utica with a final score of 4-4.
The 1981 Big East Conference men's basketball tournament was held there, as were the 1988 and 1991 Division I NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championships. The Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament East Regional semi-finals and finals have been held at the Carrier Dome seven times (1983, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2010, and 2015). The NCAA Men's Division I Indoor Track and Field Championships were held there in 1984 and 1985.
Artists who have performed at the stadium include The Chainsmokers, Paul McCartney, Prince, Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Van Halen, Elton John, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Garth Brooks, Rod Stewart, U2, Genesis, the Rolling Stones, The Police, Frank Sinatra, the Who, Neil Diamond, Kid Cudi, Kanye West, Grateful Dead, Santana, Duran Duran, Kenny Chesney, Ludacris, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, Taylor Swift, Pink Floyd, Zac Brown Band, Macklemore Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kesha, Kaskade, 50 Cent, Trey Songz, Drake, and Travis Scott among others.
Each October, the Carrier Dome hosts the New York State Field Band Conference marching band championships. It also hosts the New York State High School Football Championships each November. A Billy Graham crusade took place at the Carrier Dome in 1989. WWE have held numerous wrestling events at the Carrier Dome going back to their WWF days. Monster Jam played a sold out show to nearly 40,000 fans on March 10, 2012.
On October 14, 2014, Carrier Dome held an NBA preseason game between the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers. Coincidentally, the 76ers were originally located in Syracuse as the Syracuse Nationals.
On November 22, 2014, the Syracuse Crunch and Utica Comets hosted an American Hockey League game inside the Carrier Dome as part of the Frozen Dome Classic, which served as the 2014–15 edition of the AHL Outdoor Classic. This event was part of a day-long hockey event that also included the Utica College Pioneers and Oswego State Lakers, both based in NCAA Division III. Also, the cities of Syracuse and Utica participated in a law enforcement charity game.
The New York Mets conducted a pre-season practice at the Carrier Dome on March 26, 2019. It was the first baseball event staged at the Carrier Dome.
The Carrier Dome has also been the site of a tragic accident. In June 1999, worker Bryan Bowman was killed when he fell through the Carrier Dome roof to the bleachers 60 feet (18 m) below. He had been working with a crew from Birdair Incorporated, to replace the roof. The next month an electrician named Dave Paduana fell down a 50-foot (15 m) shaft while installing cables for a new speaker system. He survived with injuries to his leg, arm, back and ribs.
Construction and financingEdit
The Carrier Dome was constructed between April 1979 and September 1980. The total construction cost was $26.85 million, including a $2.75 million naming gift from the Carrier Corporation. Huber, Hunt and Nichols, Inc. was the general contractor.
It was speculated at the time that political considerations helped this project advance. The State of New York provided a $15 million grant in 1978 for the Carrier Dome's construction. Democratic incumbent Governor Hugh Carey was thought to have trouble in his re-election campaign with upstate voters. He visited the site of the old Archbold stadium and was convinced by local officials and SU administrators on the utility of a Dome. Carey won re-election to a second term following the approval of state funds, although the extent to which it helped him may never be known.
Heating and coolingEdit
Despite carrying the name Carrier (an HVAC manufacturer), there is currently no air conditioning in the Carrier Dome. The need for it is presumed low, as the facility is primarily used during the academic year (August–May), during most of which the outside temperatures rarely go far above room temperature, although it can get very hot in August and September. However, the temperatures greatly rise when filled to capacity even in November. Starting in 2022, the Carrier Dome will have air conditioning, befitting its name and ensuring spectators' comfort, after a massive renovation is complete.
Remodeling and updatesEdit
The Carrier Dome has been upgraded several times throughout the past 25 years. In 2018, the university installed an LED video display system with two video boards (15' x 25') that are located on the east end and northwest corners of the third level, along with 58 color TVs for the back rows of the second and first levels. The inflatable roof was replaced in 1999 at a cost of $14 million; university officials sought to replace the inflatable roof with a cable-supported roof similar to the Georgia Dome but was ruled out due to costs and the time-frame needed for construction.
FieldTurf was installed at the beginning of the 2005 football season, replacing the outdated AstroTurf. Additionally, the Carrier Dome also received orange paint and banners between its decks, and its corridors were lined with historic photographs.
In May 2018, the university announced a major renovation to the Carrier Dome as the central portion of a larger campus update. The renovation, estimated to cost $118 million, is expected to be completed in 2022. The most significant changes are the replacement of the original air-supported roof with a fixed roof, two-thirds of which will be translucent, and the installation of air conditioning. The new roof is expected to be ready in September 2020, with air conditioning added for some spaces in 2020 and the entire stadium by 2022. The upgrade will also include a new scoreboard (that will be center hung over the football field and can be moved to be over the basketball court), new lighting and sound systems, Wi-Fi improvements, accessibility upgrades, improved restrooms, and new concession spaces. The new roof will no longer require snow removal during winter, and is expected to have a much lower risk of failure than the original roof. The new roof is also expected to make the Carrier Dome a more viable venue for major concerts; the original air-supported roof required the stadium to have air locks, making it difficult to move equipment in and out. Construction on the new roof was allowed to continue in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic halting most construction in March 2020 in New York State. Syracuse University said the project was deemed essential construction because it would be unsafe to stop work on the partially completed steel structure that will support the new roof. The exterior structure for the new roof (a roller coaster-esque structure) was completed on April 20, 2020, with the final girder installed to complete the crown truss. Despite COVID-19 issues, the air conditioning installation proceeded months ahead of schedule, allowing parts of the stadium to be air-conditioned in fall 2020. During the project, the originally planned air circulation and filtration system was extensively upgraded to meet CDC suggestions.
The Carrier Dome is served by CENTRO buses. Shuttle buses transport fans to and from remote parking lots. Dedicated drop-off and pickup points for ride-hailing apps are maintained during game times.
In the 2009 football season the field turf was dedicated to Ernie Davis, the first African American Heisman Trophy winner. The field now reads "Ernie Davis Legends Field" between the 45 yard lines on the home side. Davis's number 44 was also placed along that yard line. The dedication took place at the Syracuse vs. West Virginia game October 10, 2009.
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