Northern Arizona University began construction of this facility with a "dome raising" ceremony on September 4, 1975. NAU opened the "Ensphere" in 1977 with a football victory over Montana. Bill Cosby performed at Homecoming that year after Bob Hope cancelled to attend his close friend Bing Crosby's funeral.
After President J. Lawrence Walkup's 1979 retirement, the Arizona Board of Regents renamed the facility after him. The Skydome is the second-largest laminated wood beam structure in the world at 142 feet high and 502 feet in diameter. In 2011, the university completed a $26 million dollar renovation that updated the facility and reduced seating from 15,000 to 10,000. The Skydome hosts NAU football, basketball, and track and field teams as well as concerts and commencement ceremonies.