Onondaga Lakeview Amphitheater
Syracuse, N.Y.
Region New York
Government/Public Building

Project Team
Onondaga County
Lead Design Firm Westlake Reed Leskosky
General Contractor Gilbane Building Co.
Civil Engineer Savin Engineers
Architect of Record Qpk Design

Onondaga Lakeview Amphitheater, an outdoor event complex, was part of a larger community revitalization initiative for the western shore of Onondaga Lake, the village of Solvay and the town of Geddes. The complex includes the amphitheater, which has an estimated capacity of 17,500 seats, as well as a nature area, recreational trails, and space for festivals and vendors. Design and construction of a pavilion, the stage house, back-of-house spaces, a loading dock, restroom facilities and a box office also were included. Initially valued at $80 million, the project was completed for $49.5 million, after the initial design was scaled back to a two-story from a four-story structure.

“The amphitheater is a beautiful feature, with commanding views enjoyed by many,” says one judge. The area, which had been designated as a Superfund site, has gone “from an eyesore to a gem,” the judge adds. 

The project was held to a strict timeline leading up to the amphitheater’s first scheduled performance, in September 2015, which left less than a year for the structure to be completed. The design and construction teams employed a design-build method in order to meet the timeline. By implementing a strict safety plan, the teams were able to finish the project without a recordable or lost-time incident.

Best of the Best Projects 2016