Syracuse, New York – Those arriving at the Carrier Dome for the Syracuse football game on Saturday morning entered through a door that was wide open and left unattended.
The door has been kept open to help limit the number of people touching the handle and limit the potential spread of the coronavirus. And it was left open because it eventually could be, as Syracuse went from a compressed air roof to a more modern system.
The school kicked off the $ 118 million Carrier Dome renovations on Saturday in a 37-20 win over Georgia Tech. And the school debuted without fans, which makes for a rather odd celebration day.
“We got to see it on Thursday morning and it was great, super impressive,” said Syracuse football coach Dino Babers. “It was nothing but awe from me and all the players. To enter this place, a little disappointing to open it without the community and the student body. But this is a special place and I can’t wait to share it with you.
Upgrades included replacing the air roof and adding a new centrally suspended dashboard and new sound and lighting systems.
Babers and his team were among the first to see the final product, taking a tour of the facilities on Thursday morning. Like most Carrier Dome regulars, they marveled at the new centrally-hung dashboard, one of the largest in the country.
Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack has vowed he’ll bring a ‘wow factor’ to the building and the scoreboard does, offering a massive upgrade for any fan who visits regularly. He holds the attention of the whole stadium. It’s so big that those in the front row might have to strain their necks.
“The first time I saw him when we walked in I felt like I was a rookie again and it was the first time I saw the Dome,” said the star defensive back. Trill Williams. “It was a great experience. My favorite part is the Jumbotron. Sometimes I’m caught looking up and it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, I have to focus.
The dash provided images and reruns on Saturday and was surrounded by speakers and lights that make their own improvements. The PA announcer no longer sounds like it’s submerged in an underwater tank. The new lights provided crisp brightness.
The school played music and pumped through an artificial crowd, in an effort to make the atmosphere as normal as possible during a strange time. Everything sounded good.
Rather than being surrounded by fans, the front row of the bleachers was covered in a blue tarp that featured advertisements for items like Muscle Milk, Labatt and Dunn Tire. There is still work to be done over the next two years. Some bathrooms have been upgraded. A few hollows remain. Some areas can be air conditioned. Others can’t.
The school presented an honor ring in front of the press gallery and featured the names of Jim Boeheim, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little and Dwayne “Pearl” Washington, painted on the walls. The team bowl appearances were commemorated near the top of the building where the roof connects to the sides.
The school still hasn’t lit the Dome at night, and it’s unlikely that they would have gone all out for a home opener that lacked the most important piece: the thousands of people who make it up. roar and moan the building, gasp and explode.
There was no such awe-inspiring light show as the one the Syracuse players posted on their Instagram pages from their preview.
The building has never been particularly dark thanks to the natural sunlight coming from the new roof. There was no particularly dramatic theatrical presentation before the team entered the field.
Perhaps that’s because the game was delayed by 30 minutes and the teams returned to their locker rooms as three players from Syracuse were retested for the coronavirus. Maybe they’re just waiting for the final piece.
“It’s amazing,” Babers said. “You will love it and it will blow you away when you get the chance to see it.” “
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