Towards 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 small concrete
stadium, Archbold Stadium, was seventy years old and not up to the standards of
other schools. The stadium could not be expanded; it had been reduced from 40,000
seats to 26,000 due to the fire codes. Therefore SU decided to build a new stadium,
which, appropriately for Syracuse's climate was to have a domed teflon-coated,
fiberglass inflatable roof. It would also serve as the home for the men's basketball
team, as a replacement for Manley Field House. 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. Hueber,
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 Dome's
construction. At the time 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 sold by local officials and SU brass on the utility of a
Carey won re-election to a second term following the approval of Dome financing.
The Dome has been upgraded several times throughout the past 25 years. Most
recently the University installed a LED video display system with 2 video boards (15' x
25') that are located on the east end and northwest corners of the 3rd level, along
with 58 color TVs for the back rows of the 2nd and 1st levels. The inflatable roof was
also replaced in 1999 at a cost of $14 million.
FieldTurf was installed at the beginning of the 2005 football season, replacing the
outdated AstroTurf. Additionally, the Dome also received orange paint and banners
between its decks, and its corridors were lined with historic photographs of its history.
- A running joke about the Carrier Dome is that despite carrying the name Carrier—the world's
largest manufacturer of air conditioners—the Dome is not air-conditioned. The need for this is
low, as the facility is primarily used during the academic year (August-May), during most of
which the outside temperatures never go far above room temperature.
- Due to the architectural design of the Dome, indentations big enough for a person to stand in
are found all along the outer wall. If a person stands inside one of these indentions and
stomps the ground with their foot, a strong auditory echo can be heard, appearing to run up-
and-down the height of the Dome wall. This is known as The Dome Stomp.
- During sporting events, especially during loud crowd applause, earthquake sensors located
in the nearby Geology Department often register increased activity.
- After an event, when all of the exits are open including the standard doors, a very strong wind
tends to force one out of the building. This is caused by the soft inflatable roof drooping and
pushing air out, and referred to as The Dome Effect.
- Syracuse receives significant lake-effect snows every winter from Lake Ontario. During
periods of high snowfall, the Dome will be closed and the roof fully deflated to protect it from
collapse under the weight of fallen snow. However, modifications after installation of a new
roof in 1999 allow it to reach higher temperatures. The new roof has never been deflated.