When Syracuse announced it will be moving forward with plans to renovate the Carrier Dome, your first thought was probably excitement. After that? Perhaps dread.
How long is this going to take? (they gave no timeline, after all) And where the hell are Syracuse Orange football and basketball going to play in the meantime?
Ends up that the second bit may not be much of a concern, at least according to SU vice president and chief facilities officer Pete Sala.
Sala spoke to Syracuse.com's Chris Carlson yesterday evening, and one of the biggest takeaways was that avoiding moving games was among its highest priorities on this project. Said Sala:
"...Our goal and what we've challenged our contractors is that we not lose a football or basketball game, that we'll have every game in the facility. That was a goal and said this is something that we said had to be met. We're working with Turner and Populous to meet that goal."
Turner Construction Company is the group that will be taking on the project. Populous is the architectural design firm in charge of making this thing look nice.
As Carlson points out, Turner took care of the Madison Square Garden renovation without moving games -- that said, the New York Knicks and New York Rangers did both start that season on the road for longer stretches than normal to account for the project being completed.
For Syracuse sports, they don't have the luxury MSG enjoyed, with two seasons (hockey and basketball) largely coinciding. But they do get a longer offseason. Assuming Turner could start construction as soon as the basketball season wrapped up (early March), they could conceivably get six full months (March through August) to complete the admittedly large-scale job. Additional time could potentially be created by having the men's and women's basketball teams close the regular season with two road games, and have the Orange football team start with two road games, then have a bye before a late September home opener.
The Dome won't have the burden of hosting an NCAA Tournament game through 2018, so obviously the construction getting done in the next couple years is a priority so it can get back into the rotation. That's far from SU's primary concern, however.
Obviously the biggest one is to avoid losing out on too much revenue from home games. By slightly altering the football and basketball (men's and women's) schedules, those gate receipts remain intact. Lacrosse won't get the same crowds if moved to the SU Soccer Stadium, but it's a viable one-year solution for that sport that still generates revenues for the school.
There's also something to be said about the long-term benefits of the renovation too. With better facilities, the Dome could host more events, charge more for tickets, concessions and more, and overall, earn the university more money. If things are disrupted further than what's described above, the new revenue streams could still offset the lost old receipts in a short timeframe.
While whomever the new athletic director is won't have a say in any part of this renovation, they will get to decide how this Dome facelift is presented to fans and the country once completed. When the building was first unveiled, it was a marvel of sorts. Perhaps its next iteration could be once again.