Dome Sweet Dome
Syracuse, N.Y. -- Today, many sports fans around the world need not worry about braving the elements when going to see their favorite team play on a cold, wet day. Many teams around the world now enjoy the once rare luxury of playing in an indoor arena, including, since 1980, the Syracuse University Orangemen, who play their home games in the Carrier Dome.
“The Dome”—named as a result of Carrier’s one-time, $2.75 million gift to the building fund—cost a total of $27 million to build. Archbold Stadium, where Syracuse teams had played from 1907 through 1978, had become a nuisance to both scheduling and recruiting at the university. Its age and limited seating capacity (26,000) threatened the university’s future position among the top college football powers. In 1978 Archbold Stadium was demolished to make room for the Dome.
The Carrier Dome boasts a Teflon-coated translucent fabric roof, durable enough for golf cars to ride on. The 220-ton, 6 ½-acre, double-layer fiberglass roof was lifted with 16 six-foot electric fans, each blowing 90,000 cubic feet of air per minute through the stadium’s 36 hollow concrete columns until a dome shape was formed some two hours later. Using a concept similar to that of the Pontiac, Mich. Silverdome, the 16 fan units continually pump air to keep the roof inflated.
The roof consists of 64 large panels of Teflon-coated fiberglass fastened to a latticework of 14 crisscrossing steel cables—some as long as 700 feet and weighing 14,000 lbs.
Heating coils located in each of four mechanical rooms raise the temperature of the air being circulated throughout the dome. This process provides warm air between two layers of the dome’s roof during the winter “snow melt mode,” effectively eliminating snow before it can collect on the fiberglass surface.
The Carrier Dome contains multiple playing surfaces. It is the only domed stadium in the northeast United States and in addition to football is home to Syracuse University basketball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, track and other athletic events.No, the Carrier Dome is not air conditioned, owing in part to its limited use during the summer months. But join up to 50,000 football faithful on any given Saturday in the fall, or the 30,000 basketball fans during winter, and it’s easy to see why the Carrier Dome is part of the fabric of college sports in America.