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Elmira/Corning

Dome steers clear of outages with extra precautions

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Dome steers clear of outages with extra precautions
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SU fans visit the Carrier Dome regularly for different events: From football to basketball to graduation. It takes a lot of work and lights to keep it running. In light of what happened at the Superdome during the Super Bowl, our Iris St. Meran talked with the Dome's managing director about what goes into maintaining all the bulbs there.

SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- For 34 minutes, Super Bowl players and their fans waited for the lights in the Super Dome to come back on. It's a situation the managing director of the Carrier Dome hopes to never experience.

Carrier Dome Managing Director Pete Sala said, "It's my worst nightmare. My heart went out to those guys because I know what they're going through."

Neither Sala nor the Dome have gone through a power outage during an event. He doesn't know what exactly happened to the lights during Super Bowl 47, but says there are situations they deal with on a daily basis here.

"You see blips of power where a feeder may go down somewhere that National Grid has,” Sala added. “We'll see power fluctuations here, occasionally we'll see some light flickering."

Inside the Dome, there are more than 450 lights that handle the football field. There are 1,500 watt metal halides and there's a lot of work that goes into maintaining them.

"Well, every summer, we'll bring a crane in and we'll change anything that's out and anything that's off color. We'll go through and run the lights for about a week before the crane comes in here, do an analysis of the lights that we think are suspect," Sala said.

Sala says it's very detailed maintenance. The date is recorded for every bulb that is changed. It's a tedious but necessary process to ensure everyone's experience at the Dome is a good one.

Sala says if there was a power outage during an event, they have the ability to call down to the National Grid command center to determine exactly what happened.

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