The Houston Astrodome is Saved!

By Phillip Pyle

HCSCC officials want the ‘Dome to be considered the “front door” of Reliant Park. Courtesy of Harris County Sports & Convention Corp.

The Astrodome has been neglected and vacant for years. There is a spider web in the Dome that could engulf a small child. At long last a solution for the Dome has been found.  The Harris County Sports & Convention Corporation (HCSCC) board unanimously agreed on a recommendation to repurpose the Houston landmark.

Willie Loston, along with SMG-Reliant Park general manager Mark Miller, presented the plan for a 350,000-square-foot column-free exhibition space, which would require removing the seats and raising the floor to street level.

Other improvements would include adding glass at the stadium’s four compass points for enhanced natural light and aesthetics, with a signature entry at the south end; installing solar panels on the domed roof and incorporating other building systems to improve energy-efficiency; and removing the berms, entrance ramps and ticket booths from the building’s exterior to create a more continuous and useable outdoor plaza, with food vendors and restroom opportunities as well as green space.

The interior could be easily reconfigured to accommodate swim meets, graduations and other community events, football games, conventions and more.

The project is estimated to take about 30 months to build out at a cost of approximately $194 million, including everything from architectural and engineering fees to food service, according to Miller, although board chairman Edgardo Colón said that the HCSCC hopes to reduce that amount even further with alternative sources of financing.

This recommendation will be presented to the Harris County Commissioners Court at the Capital Improvement Program meeting on June 25.