Superior Dome

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Superior Dome
Yooper Dome
Opposite sides of the Superior Dome
LocationNorthern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan, United States
OwnerNorthern Michigan University
OperatorNorthern Michigan University
Broke ground1991
Construction cost$23.9 million
Northern Michigan University football and other athletics (NCAA)

The Superior Dome, which opened as the "world’s largest wooden dome" on September 14, 1991,[1] is a domed stadium on the campus of Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan, in the United States. It is home to the Northern Michigan Wildcat football team as well as their Marching Band, and a variety of other campus and community events.

The dome is 143 feet (44 m) tall, has a diameter of 536 feet (163 m), covers an area of 5.1 acres (21,000 m2), and has a volume of 16,135,907 cubic feet. It is a geodesic dome constructed with 781 Douglas Fir beams and 108.5 miles (174.6 km) of fir decking. The dome is designed to support snow up to 60 pounds per square foot (2.9 kPa) and withstand 80-mile-per-hour (130 km/h) winds. It has a permanent seating capacity of 8,000, though the building can hold as many as 16,000 people. The 2010 edition of Guinness World Records listed it as the fifth-largest dome and largest wooden dome in the world.[2]


The construction was finished 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.


Inside of Superior Dome with turf laid out

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 televised game.[3]

The dome features a retractable artificial turf carpet, the largest of its kind in the world. When extended, the turf can 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 (660 ft) track. The carpet is winched in and out of place on a cushion of air. Retracting the turf carpet takes 30 minutes, with full setup taking approximately two hours.[2]

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 m2) 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.

President George W. Bush held a campaign rally in the stadium during the 2004 Presidential campaign.[4]

Superior Dome view from Lake Superior
Superior Dome view from Lake Superior


  1. ^ Hunt, Mary; Hunt, Don. "Superior Dome". Hunt's Guide to the Upper Peninsula. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  2. ^ a b "Superior Dome". Northern Michigan University. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Bush, George W. (2004). Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States, George W. Bush, 2004, Book 2, July 1 to September 30, 2004. Government Printing Office. pp. 1294–1300.

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Coordinates: 46°33′36″N 87°23′37″W / 46.56000°N 87.39361°W / 46.56000; -87.39361