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Dome renovations set to make SU’s best-known venue state-of-the-art… or at least a lot better

For years we’ve been hearing about renovations to the Dome. SU fans have been clamoring for air conditioning. Media, us here at Orange Fizz included, have been wondering if the Wi-Fi situation would ever get any better. Well, it appears that at least a couple of the changes that people want to see will be coming in the next few years, albeit with a cool $118 million price tag attached.

There are a lot of changes to sift through and some of it’s a bit confusing given that the improvements aren’t coming all at once, so not only are we going to break it down for you, we’ll also talk about what kind of an impact these upgrades could have on fan, recruit and player experience. And just before everyone freaks out, the athletics department isn’t expecting that the renovations will affect the football, basketball or lacrosse seasons.

Roof and Natural Light – Fall 2020

By far the most significant and exciting change in these upcoming renovations is the new roof that the Dome will be equipped with. After years of having the air-supported roof that gave the Dome the bubble look and the necessity to have air-locked doors (the reason you get blown out of the building as you walk out), the new renovations will bring with it a permanent roof. The new roof will be covered with a hard material on the outer third before transitioning into a different material which will allow a lot more natural light to filter into the building.

Having that see-through material and natural light will give the Dome an added outdoor feel even if all of the events are indoors. On top of bringing more natural light into the Dome, the new roof also, like we said, does away with the air-supported roof the Dome has used for so many years. This will eliminate the need for the air-locked doors, which, in turn, diversifies the kinds of events that the Dome can hold. Without the need to open and close only one door at a time, events with a lot of materials and staging, like concerts, would be able to set up much more easily and efficiently and could really add to the Dome’s events schedule. 

Scoreboard and Skyline – Fall 2020

Another of the biggest additions coming in the fall of 2020 is a new video scoreboard that will hang from the roof of the Dome. That kind of addition adds an extra “state-of-the-art” element that the Dome’s outdated architecture is seriously lacking. It will be a huge focal point right when you walk into the Dome and could really wow recruits when they come on visits.

The coolest part about the scoreboard isn’t the wow factor, but the fact that it can move on a track and wouldn’t stay in the same spot for football and basketball. With the movable track it can be place right at midfield for football and right at midcourt for basketball. That’s the kind of versatility the Dome so desperately needs considering it is the only venue in the country that houses five different sports.

The impact of the scoreboard also won’t just be seen on the inside of the facility. Because the scoreboard is on a track, it needs some extra structural support on the outside which will come in the form of an elevated track on the outside that looks a bit like a rollercoaster. This will completely change the way the Dome looks when you’re coming into the city. It may take some getting used to, but in the end, it’s allowing for a new upgrade that will benefit the building on a number of levels.

An artist rendering of the exterior of the planned exterior of the Dome. (Courtesy of Syracuse University)

Sound and Lighting Systems – Fall 2020

The improvements also include a state-of-the-art sound and lighting system that will allow the lights to be turned on and off in the Dome. That could allow some crazy light effects that can be used for pregame introductions and other new forms of entertainment. Imagine the lights dimming for basketball lineups, or a single spotlight being shown on Jim Boeheim as he walks out of the tunnel to a chorus of cheers and bows from the student section. The possibilities really do start to become endless and the hype packages and intros that can be done with the new system could end up being the most exciting and aesthetically-pleasing part of the entire renovation plan. Could we even see something like “Late Night with Jim” on the horizon?

Wi-Fi – Fall 2020

Oh thank the heavens for this one. Every single person that has ever stepped foot in the Dome and tried to use an electronic device knows just how annoyingly bad the Wi-Fi signal is in the building. It makes everything from sending a text message to trying to live tweet a game, nearly impossible and has frustrated many a media member and fan. Luckily, according to the new plan, help is on the way. It outlines the impending arrival of “added Wi-Fi capabilities” which we can only hope means doing away with Orange Hotspot.

Air Conditioning – Fall 2022

Outside of Wi-Fi, this might be the most sought-after improvement that people have been begging for at the Dome for years. Early-season football games and late-season lacrosse games become almost unbearable in terms of the temperature and humidity in the Dome and air conditioning will certainly help that. It will also do away with the age-old “Carrier is an air conditioning company, how come the Dome with its name on doesn’t have any?” joke, which will be a nice change of pace. Most of all, this could really help with recruiting because, on some level, it shows that the university is taking its athletes’ health and well-being into consideration because far too often we’ve seen cramps and other heat-related ailments affect players in the Dome, especially football players.

Miscellaneous

There are a few other improvements that are set to come in this new two-to-four-year plan. In the short-term, the Dome is going to undergo renovations to make sure it complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act, upgrading elevators, creating accessible seating and making more entrances accessible. In 2022, the renovations are set to include wider concourses, updated bathrooms (that’s a relief) and new concessions spaces, all of which will enhance the fan experience and make going to Syracuse games a lot more fun and enjoyable.

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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