USF Magazine Summer 2012

Volume 54 | Number 2

Cover Story

Game Changer

| USF News

Sun Dome filled with people for commencement

The first public event held in the newly renovated Sun Dome was commencement on May 4.
Photo by Aimee Blodgett | USF News

It's a new day for the Dome.

Less than 12 months after the start of an ambitious renovation, the USF Sun Dome is back — and better than ever.

"We have waited a long time for this day to arrive," said USF President Judy Genshaft at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in May. But the wait was well worth it.

The newly renovated, 10,000-seat stadium features a four-sided, center-hung LED video scoreboard, the first student club in the nation, luxury loge suites, a new retail store, wider concourses, new concessions, a media room, new lighting, a new sound system and retractable seats in the lower bowl.

Video board reading 'It's A New Day. It's A New Dome.'

A four-sided LED video board allows fans to easily see the score of a game or an up-close shot of an athlete or entertainer.
Photo by Aimee Blodgett | USF News

It's a whole new arena for USF Athletics.

"The renovations to the Sun Dome are second to none. This facility brings us up to par with the rest of the Big East and has already played a huge role in recruiting even without being completely finished," says Stan Heath, head men's basketball coach. "Five years ago, none of this existed. So to see it come to fruition is something special. The USF administration has done an amazing job at putting us in a place where we can really accomplish some great things. It's an exciting time to be a USF Bull."

And it's not just for sporting events. The newly renovated Sun Dome, with four dressing rooms for concert talent, is a first-rate venue for concerts and conventions. Grammy-nominated British pop-rock band Florence and The Machine is set to take the stage in September. But the stage won't look anything like it did in the 80s and 90s, when the dome played host to headliners like Frank Sinatra, U2, Stevie Nicks, Madonna and the White Stripes.

The $35 million renovation, which is expected to add 30 years to the arena's life, logged nearly 113,000 man hours, providing about 288 jobs per day in the region. About three-fourths of the work was done by businesses located or headquartered in the Tampa Bay region.

The environment came out a winner as well.

More than 91 percent of all debris removed in the renovation — about 10 million pounds — was recycled. And, due to energy-saving measures, the arena is projected to reduce overall energy costs by 20 percent, and overall building water usage by 40 percent.

At the ribbon-cutting, USF Athletic Director Doug Woolard called the re-opening "a game-changing moment in USF history."

A moment that marks the beginning of a new season for the Sun Dome.

At a Glance

Number of seats

$35.64 Million
Total project cost

21 to 22 inches
Seat width in levels 100 and 200

Writing press seats with TV monitors

Loge suites

22 feet
Average width of main concourse

Auxiliary locker rooms for sporting events

Dressing rooms for concert talent