A rendering of what the facility will look like during the 2018 NCAA Final Four tournament. (Photo by Alamodome)
As part of a larger plan that includes the convention center and HemisFair Park, Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, will receive $41 million in upgrades by 2018.
“It really is about repositioning what we call the event zone for downtown and increasing the appeal of the destination,” said Mike Sawaya, director of the city’s Convention, Sports & Entertainment Facilities Department. “It’s about re-envisioning downtown not only for visitors but for business.”
The Alamodome is focusing on transforming its north plaza into a space for outdoor events, expanding concourses, and many other improvements and additions including new locker rooms and a 24,000-sq.-ft. multipurpose room. There will also be a new Terrace Club.
Nick Langella, Alamodome GM, is excited about the outdoor space, saying that it will give the venue “the opportunity to do festival-type functions and pre-event activities.”
“Weather here is fantastic, so we always try to do as much as we can outside,” he added.
But what really stands out about the renovations is the concourse work. Concourse space will be doubled to 40-ft wide, up from 19 ft. “Without a doubt, that is going to make the biggest impact,” said Langella. “That has always been a sore point for us because, when we have in excess of 50,000 people, it gets tight.”
About one-fourth of the money is set aside for visual technology, including redoing scoreboards, adding a new video board, and installing ribbon boards.
Renovations will expand the East and West Concourses and create the new Terrace Club. (Photo by Alamodome)
Though this is the largest single renovation at the facility, Alamodome has continually upgraded. Within the last couple of years, Langella said that $1.5 million has been put into WiFi with an additional $2 million into DAS.
“We want to get back into the cycles for the NCAA Final Four and other big events, so these are a couple of the projects that we needed to do,” he added.
The new improvements will be made with city funds, but there is a financing plan in which the facility adds to its user and parking fees. Renovations are being overseen by San Antonio-based firm Marmon Mok Architecture, along with Populous, the same team that designed the facility originally. The Alamodome will remain open throughout the renovation, which is scheduled for completion by the end of 2017.
Part of the reason for the time frame is the NCAA Final Four, which will be held in the city April 2018.
The renovation of the Alamodome, convention center, and HemisFair Park helped secure the NCAA Final Four. The Alamodome’s 24,000-sq.-ft. multipurpose room is designed to serve as a media room during the event. After the Final Four, it can be used for overflow convention space or as a meeting area all its own. Other aspects of the overall renovation will serve to bring the three entities together, with the convention center extending closer to the Alamodome and the installation of a pedestrian bridge that will connect the two properties.
“When you think about how the package works together and what we’re offering clients or potential clients, it’s unbeatable,” said Sawaya. “They know they’ll be successful here.”
Interviewed for this story: Nick Langella and Mike Sawaya, (210) 207-3642