Superior Dome
The Superior Dome, which opened as the world’s largest wooden dome on September 14, 1991, is a domed stadium on the campus of Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. It is home to the Northern Michigan Wildcats football team, as well as a variety of campus and community events. A nickname is the Yooper Dome. The Dome stands 14 stories high and encompasses 5.1 acres (21,000 m²) under its roof. Constructed as a geodesic dome with 781 Douglas Fir Beams and 108.5 miles (175 km) of fir decking, the Dome has a permanent seating capacity of 8,000, though the building can hold as many as 16,000 people. The facility features a diameter of 163.4 m (536 feet), and has the ability to withstand 60 pounds force per square foot (2.87 kPa) of snow and 80 mile per hour (130 km/h) winds. These features are critical due to the extreme, unpredictable winter weather in Marquette, due to its location on the southern shore of Lake Superior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Construction of the Dome was completed in two phases. Phase I was finished in August 1991 and included the construction of the domed complex. Phase II, completed in May 1995, added locker rooms, department offices, meeting rooms, concession areas, a retail store and other building amenities. Phase I of the project cost $21.8 million and was funded entirely by the State of Michigan. Phase II was completed for $2.1 million, with $800,000 in private donations and $1.3 million in loans. Total cost for the Superior Dome stands at $23.9 million. The Dome used to be made of a retractable artificial turf carpet, the largest of its kind in the world. The football field is now made of state of the art field turf. When extended, the turf has the ability to accommodate football, soccer, and field hockey. Underneath the carpet is a synthetic playing surface that features three basketball/volleyball courts, two tennis courts and a 200 meter track. Twelve computerized winches extend the carpet over a cushion of air. It takes 30 minutes to retract the artificial turf carpet and approximately two hours for full setup to be completed. The Wildcat football team was the first to christen the Dome, hosting the first-ever event in the facility on September 14, 1991. Northern defeated Indianapolis, 31-20, in front of a crowd of 7,942. Later that season, a Superior Dome attendance record was set at 8,432, when Northern defeated Ferris State, 27-17, on October 5. On September 18, 2008 a new attendance record was set as 8,672 watched Northern Michigan University lose to the Michigan Tech Huskies in a nationally televised game. The Superior Dome is also host to a number of campus and community events, including Michigan High School Athletic Association football regular season and playoff games, trade shows (approximately 100,000 square feet (9,300 m 2) of space), conventions, conferences, banquets, high school track meets, The Upper Peninsula "Band Day" competition/exhibition, Special Olympics, and NMU’s Commencement exercises, to name a few. Many famous people have visited and spoken in the dome, including George W. Bush during the 2004 Presidential campaign.