The first phase of Syracuse University’s multi-year, $118 million stadium project, unveiled in 2018, was completed this week. This marks a new era for Syracuse University, the Department of Athletics and the many students, faculty, staff and community members who have come to consider “the Loud House” the home of their sports world. Today’s announcement also represents a major milestone for the Campus Framework, a 20-year roadmap designed to align the University’s vision and mission with its physical space and infrastructure.
A walkthrough conducted Thursday late afternoon, involving Chancellor Syverud, Dr. Ruth Chen, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh, Director of Athletics John Wildhack and Vice President and Chief Facilities Officer Pete Sala, with views of the field, scoreboard, concourse and locker room: Chancellor Syverud provides tour of stadium improvements
“This is an exciting day for Syracuse University, the City of Syracuse and the broader Central New York community,” says Chancellor Kent Syverud. “From graduations to great moments in sports, some of the most memorable times in our lives and on our campus have taken place under the roof of our stadium. The completion of this phase of the project will transform the Stadium experience for our community and our fans. Once this project is complete, Syracuse University will be the home of this spectacular stadium that will continue to be a centerpiece of our community for years to come. I am grateful for the many individuals, all of whom worked tirelessly to bring this phase of the project to fruition, on time and on budget. Generations of students, faculty, staff and visitors will enjoy the Stadium thanks to the hard work of so many.”
The ongoing effort to transform the Stadium will continue into 2022. But student-athletes will experience the significant work completed to date when they take the field for Syracuse football’s home opener against Georgia Tech on Saturday, Sept. 26.
“The completion of this work brings to life a strategic vision that prioritizes our students, faculty and staff—academically, personally and professionally—and elevates the experience for our student-athletes, visiting teams, performers, fans and community members,” says Amir Rahnamay-Azar, senior vice president for business, finance and administrative services (BFAS) and chief financial officer. “The transformation will continue in the coming months and years, dramatically enhancing its role in our campus community and in the City of Syracuse.”
“Our team and contractors have been working around the clock for months to complete this work in time for the first home football game of what is sure to be a unique season,” says Pete Sala, vice president and chief campus facilities officer in BFAS. “The new roof and other upgrades are just incredible. We look forward to not only welcoming back fans for athletic competitions once we get the green light, but also being able to open up the enormous amount of space offered by the Stadium to students learning and living on campus this semester.”
Work that concluded this week includes the installation of a new fixed roof; air conditioning upgrades; extensive accessibility improvements; and a center-hung scoreboard, new sound and lighting.
“Our student-athletes, coaches and staff—both current and future—will benefit tremendously from the enhancements, improvements and upgrades that have been made,” says Director of Athletics John Wildhack ’80. “As an alumnus, as a fan and as director of athletics, I have never been more anxious to step foot on the turf for a game than I am right now. Saturday’s home football game against Georgia Tech can’t come soon enough! I extend my deep appreciation to everyone who has contributed to this project’s success.”
Goodbye, Air-Pressurized Roof; Hello, Air Conditioning
Two big changes will be instantly recognizable upon entering the Stadium.
First, the roof will no longer require air pressure to stay inflated—so the loud “whoosh” and rush of air experienced when entering and exiting the building will be a thing of the past. “For the first time in 40 years, we’ll be able to pin the doors open and allow people to walk right in without having to worry about pressure being released from the building,” says Sala.
Over the past several weeks, more than 35 fabric panels were installed as the final steps in the roof project, accounting for nearly three acres of fabric. Final testing was also conducted to ensure that the roof is water-tight and can accommodate the heavy snowfall of Central New York winters.
Second, work has continued to pump air conditioning into more areas of the Stadium, with facilitywide air conditioning on target to be installed by May 2021. The recent enhancements included adding air conditioning to the press box and in more suites, locker rooms and mechanical rooms than ever before.
A More Accessible Experience
One of the most critical components of the transformation is a continued investment in Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)-related accessibility upgrades. Push-button door openers, ADA-compliant restrooms and concession counters, and closed captioning for the scoreboard have been put in place to meet the needs of our diverse campus community, loyal fans and the public. Additional enhancements will be made in the coming months.
“When we take on a new construction project at Syracuse University, we want to make sure we do it right,” Sala says. “We used this opportunity to engage with an accessibility consultant and make a significant investment in improvements. We want everyone to be able to enjoy their time at a game, concert or any other event, without any barriers.”
Enhanced Audiovisual Components
The Stadium scoreboard is the largest in college sports, with each panel measuring 20 feet high by 62.5 feet wide. A pixel pitch of 10 millimeters makes the scoreboard easy on the eyes, regardless of where one is seated.
Fans will enjoy state-of-the-art upgrades to the building’s sound and lighting systems, as well as the new center-hung scoreboard that can be easily viewed from virtually anywhere in the venue. The new scoreboard, the first of its size in collegiate sports, features four panels that are each 20 feet high by 62.5 feet wide and a 6-foot ribbon board that wraps around the bottom.
“The Stadium is the most unique venue in all of college sports as home to five different sports, including two women’s sports,” says Wildhack. “The new scoreboard, sound and lighting systems will transform the experience for all Stadium events for years to come.”
Finishing touches over the past weeks have included raising the scoreboard to height, installing updated video boards, testing out lighting and color changes, and blasting sound through new speakers to ensure all components are game-day ready.
Fun facts involving project: New Stadium Experience
A Space for Students During the Unique Fall 2020 Semester
The completed enhancements will offer up additional on-campus space for students to use for non-athletics-related reasons. With this phase of work now complete, the Stadium will soon re-open and can be utilized for recreational and academic uses. “I can’t emphasize enough how important this building is to our students and to our entire community,” Sala says. “I’m glad the day is here that we can once again begin to welcome people back into the Stadium and give them the experience they deserve.”
About Syracuse University – Syracuse University is a private research university that advances knowledge across disciplines to drive breakthrough discoveries and breakout leadership. Our collection of 13 schools and colleges with over 200 customizable majors closes the gap between education and action, so students can take on the world. In and beyond the classroom, we connect people, perspectives and practices to solve interconnected challenges with interdisciplinary approaches. Together, we’re a powerful community that moves ideas, individuals and impact beyond what’s possible.
About the Campus Framework- The effort to replace the Carrier Dome, which was originally constructed in 1980, is part of the University’s Campus Framework. The Campus Framework, which launched in 2016, works in coordination with the University’s Academic Strategic Plan to shape, guide and manage the Syracuse University campus environment and its physical form in support of the University’s mission. It seeks to foster an inclusive range of strategies to address the student experience, integrate accessibility and mobility, and improve the academic and research environments. Visit campusframework.syr.edu to learn more about the University’s Campus Framework.