The latest plan to save the “8th wonder of the world” involves redesigning the dome into a smaller building. It calls for removing all the portions above the street level. That includes thousands of seats, the concourse and skyboxes.
Imad Abdullah has been an architect in Houston for almost 40 years.
“Lowering the iconic Dome, lowering it 75 feet to where it sits over the main entrance level, so the Dome would become a dome over all the playing fields and the stands that are 25 feet into the ground as originally designed.”
The reduction process would involve the same techniques used when it was built 47-years ago. Scaffolding towers would temporarily hold the dome roof, to remove all the floors above the main entrance and eliminate the walls, seating areas and stands. The dome would then be brought down to rest over the shortened columns that carry it now.
Abdullah says the new look structure could host multiple activities at the same time.
“This option has tremendous cost saving opportunities for the city. Because they don’t have to fill the 25 foot hole, they don’t have air condition the huge volume of the Dome, and it can be sub divided a whole lot easier to various tenants, and can generate a lot of income.”
The latest presentation got the attention of Commissioners and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, but any idea large or small, has left one unanswered question:
“For the longest time, Sports and Convention Corporation, Commissioner’s Court, everybody involved has sought individuals, companies, anybody that wants to do something with the Dome, but nobody’s been able to come up with the money to convert it into anything.”
Emmett says in a couple of months the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation will offer its recommendation on how to proceed.
“Commissioner’s Court will bless or not bless it, and if Commissioner’s Court says yes this is the direction we want to go with the Dome, then I don’t see any way to avoid going back to the voters. Because the amounts of money you’re talking about will be … big, and the voters will have to approve a bond issue based on that.”
It cost Harris County $36 million to build the world’s first multi-purpose domed sports stadium. Emmett says to do anything with it now would cost roughly ten times more than that.