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Syracuse University says $118M Carrier Dome renovations will include new roof, air conditioning

Carrier Dome artist's rendering
An artist’s rendering of the exterior of the Carrier Dome as Syracuse University on Monday announced a $118 million renovation project that will include a new roof, air conditioning, and a vertically hung scoreboard. (Image credit: Syracuse University news website)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — A new fixed roof and the installation of air conditioning are part of an upcoming $118 million renovation project at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse University announced on Monday.

The new roof, a vertically hung scoreboard, “state-of-the-art” sound and lighting systems, improved accessibility, and added Wi-Fi capabilities will be in place beginning in fall 2020, the university said in a news release.

Syracuse also expects crews to install the air-conditioning system and complete the new accessible restrooms and new concessions space by fall 2022.


The project will allow the university “to create a new stadium experience for students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans alike,” the school said.

Replacing the aging roof is really just the “tip of the iceberg,” Pete Sala, VP and chief facilities officer in Syracuse University’s division of business, finance and administrative services, said in the release.

“The visitor experience will be completely transformed. From the enhanced natural lighting in the facility to the ease at which the scoreboard can be viewed, from the new lighting and sound systems to the added restrooms and concessions, our visitors can expect nothing short of a first-class experience. My team and I are eager to get this project underway and we look forward to providing our visitors an experience unlike anything they’ve had on our campus before,” said Sala.

John Wildhack, director of athletics at Syracuse University, contends the announcement will be “well received” by Orange fans, those who currently play for Syracuse sports teams, and those who will in the future.

“As the only stadium in the country that is home to five sports, including two women’s sports, this transformation is really a game-changer for Syracuse University athletics. The transformed facility will afford our coaches and athletics staff the tools necessary to continue attracting student-athletes who perform as well in their academics as they do in their respective sports. I am especially thankful that the university will work closely with our department to limit disruption to our home athletic events. Though we’re still working through a timeline, we are hopeful that the impact on our teams will be minimal,” said Wildhack.

Syracuse University plans to spend more than $6 million in accessibility upgrades related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They include a new accessible entrance, updating the current elevator to be ADA-compliant, five ADA electric-door operators, the installation of closed-captioning software, and the addition of accessible seating, the school said.

As construction gets underway on phase-one initiatives, Syracuse will begin “scoping out” potential phase-two enhancements. The university is exploring ways to “redefine” the stadium’s footprint by connecting it — via an enclosed pedestrian thruway — to Archbold Gymnasium, “ultimately creating a seamless navigational experience between the two highly visited spaces,” per the release.


West-campus project “next step”

The announcement “represents the next step” in advancing the $255 million west campus “transformation strategy” that Syracuse first announced on May 16, 2016.

“This is a great day for Syracuse University as we take a significant step in advancing the goals contained in our campus framework, a 20-year roadmap designed to align our vision and mission with our physical space,” Syracuse University Chancellor Kent Syverud said in the release. “Creating a new stadium experience is a key element to supporting a vibrant and diverse campus community. I am excited for our students — undergraduate and graduate — who will receive their degrees in front of their families and friends, for the student-athletes who will compete in this space and for the thousands of individuals who will visit our campus for athletic events, concerts and other activities.”

The decision to move forward with this investment follows a “comprehensive, multi-year review and assessment process,” Syracuse said. Over the last two years, members of the school’s board of trustees, university leaders, and others explored options for the future of an on-campus stadium, particularly as it relates to replacing the aging roof.


Projects underway

Since Syracuse University announced the campus-framework plan in 2016, it has prioritized several initiatives that “advance academic excellence and the student experience.” Those priority initiatives have included more than $27 million in accessibility updates, classroom upgrades, learning-technology “enhancements,” and “robust” improvements to residence halls.

The university has also recently started work on two key projects. They include the Barnes Center at The Arch, a new student-focused health and wellness complex and the National Veterans Resource Center.


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