Architectural firm hired to renovate land around Superdome - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

Architectural firm hired to renovate land around Superdome

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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

In spite of the implosion of the Georgia Dome this week the people who run the Mercedes Benz Superdome say New Orleans' huge stadium isn’t going anywhere.

In fact , they hired an international architectural firm to try make the dome and the land around it more productive.  

The Georgia Dome is now replaced by Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, complete with the camera shutter convertible top. It’s the latest and greatest in stadium design but the people who run the Superdome say the 42-year-old stadium isnt going away.

"We can’t tear this facility down, that won’t happen," said Kyle France who heads the Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District, otherwise known as the Superdome Commission.

But that doesn’t mean the Superdome and the land around it won’t be changing. The Superdome Commission has engaged the services of a design firm to study improvements to the building in hopes of bringing in more light to a facility which was described 'like watching a game in your basement' by ESPN last year in a survey of NFL stadiums.

"There are 80,000 sq ft. of ramps in the dome," said France. "A lot of that is non-usable space we can put in escalators which opens up the door which will bring it up to present facilities."

The Superdome Commission is also looking to enhance the campus around the stadiums in hopes of developing jobs and economic development.

"Minnesota, what they did, their stadium. The exterior footprint developed into a $600 million development all around that stadium which would be great for New Orleans," said France.

The new stadiums in Minneapolis and Atlanta  are attractive, but  the head of the Superdome Commission says there’s nothing wrong with the dome.

"When you look at that building it’s iconic. We can do a lot of things on the interior they give us another 40 years," said France.

France hopes to have a plan which could require legislative approval in place when the bidding begins for the next available Super Bowl the 2024 but it won’t be cheap.

"The financing piece is a work in progress because you’re talking about $500 million," said France.

The Mercedes Benz Superdome has hosted more major events than just about any other  stadium and the commission that runs it hopes to keep the trend going.

Whatever improvements are on the way, dome officials say they will have to work around several major events that are scheduled including BCS championship games and NCAA Men's and Women's Final Fours.

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