Park and Rec Is Looking For Firm to Handle $27 Million Worth of Cotton Bowl Improvements

texxasjamcottonbowl.jpg
Via.
What -- you didn't think I'd leave without posting a photo from a Texxas Jam, did you? And there's even a very good reason.
Shortly before the 2011 kick-off of Texas-OU's annual clash at the Cotton Bowl we spoke with Willis Winters, Park and Rec's second-in-command, about the need to once again renovate the Fair Park stadium in order to keep the Red River Shootout in Dallas past the 2015 contract. Said Winters, it wasn't just doable but it was something they'd planned for all along. Which is why the city has just issued a request for qualifications, seeking a firm able to handle to renovations guesstimated to run $24,700,000 for design and construction.

And the renovations are significant, ranging from the addition of club seats and concession stands to a press box overhaul to "a new, historically contextual facade around each end zone and improvements to existing facade area." The whole laundry list follows, but Roland Rainey, the Cotton Bowl manager, tells Unfair Park this morning that the facade project was initially intended to be part of the $57 million in redos unveiled in 2008. "But we ran out of money on that," he says.

"We have been committed to completing that part of the project," he says. "And in our negotiations with Texas and Oklahoma, we said we would do continuous improvements to the stadium to keep the contract and make it more usable. We did very little work on the older part of the stadium [in 2008]. We did replace the seats, but all the rest of the construction was in the end zones, and with the newer type of concessions and club seats and added-value seats, we'll continue that project."

Says Rainey, it used to be easy to convince teams to come to the Cotton Bowl, which now seats 92,100. Used to be their stadiums were small, outdated. "For years, we had the biggest stadium around," Rainey says, "and someone like Texas Tech could come here and make money."

But now, he says, "all of those folks have added seats and suites." And then there's that danged stadium to the west. "So we're no longer the biggest house in the country, and we have to look at new marketing plans and explain to people how, by bringing those games here, they can make more money."

But, wait ... what's that you say about a concert in the Cotton Bowl this summer? Is it ...? Could it ...?

Not, not this. But close? Maybe? Rainey notes that on June 9, Univision's putting on the H20 Music Festival at the Cotton Bowl -- which is being touted as "the ultimate mash-up of A-List English-speaking and Latino music acts in an inclusive festival event," which will also take place in Los Angeles. Fair Park officials hope it will bring in upward of 40,000, maybe closer to 50,000. Depends. The line-up hasn't been announced.

But aside from that "there are no concerts anymore," Rainey says. "In the 1980s, when they built Starplex, the market had fractured and there are no shows that can pull 40,000. You've gotta pull 40,000 on those stadium events, and you need longer shows. Which means you need more preliminary acts, and those [opening acts] have also gotten more expensive. The business at the stadium changes. We need more international soccer and more college football. That's where the money is."

He's not exactly sure when construction would begin; Rainey says he'll know more following a March 13 meeting at the Cotton Bowl with prospective bidders. But more than likely construction wouldn't begin till after football season. And: "When bond money or other money comes available" to fund the project.RFQ_DesignBuild_CottonBowl
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28 comments
Mike
Mike

We cannot keep paying out fix ups for 57 million and 27 million and how much more in 3 or 4 more years. It is the same as the nerd that keeps buying gifts for Angelina Jolie to keep her from Brad Pitt. Eventually the money is gone and she goes back where she belongs. Everybody keeps talking about tradition and love of the game, but the deal only happens when someone gets paid. Goodbye Angelina, we cannot afford you.

Mervis
Mervis

To bad Lil' Seabastian is dead cause they could have just trotted him out for the halftime show of Tex/OU. Who would want to miss that?

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

BEWARE one group that wanted to put a roof on that place slowly  incarnated itself into  the Dallas 2012 Olympic Committee.....Someone here said 2020 is in the sights of some the areas movers and shakers.

 

Chris Danger
Chris Danger

A) Wilonsky, we're going to miss your wit & snark on here...;)

B) The Cotton Bowl, like many things in the fair park neighborhood, need a face lift. I was just in a discussion this morning concerning the reasons why Dallas cant attract decent indie shows, and if we do, they show up on a Monday night (see: Radiohead, Black Keys, ect..) A primary, besides the obvious of a lack of true indie/college radio in this region, is the fact many venues such as our precious Cotton Bowl are not built to handle summer crowds. Im all for doming this place and bringing it into the 21st century. It might cost a pretty penny, but it would be a an investment that would pay off for many years to come...

Tim Covington
Tim Covington

Another reason you don't see concerts at the Cotton Bowl anymore is that acts that can draw that large of a crowd can go to indoor venues like the AAC and Jerryland. Let's face it, everyone involved would prefer to be in air conditioning in the summer months.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

Hey is that your butt in those daisy dukes? 

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

You posted the TJ photo for a reason. Could it be shirtless RW in the cutoff shorts?

phe_75034
phe_75034

God, I miss late-70s hair. Actually, I miss MY hair from the late 70s.

So, going out with a bang, Bob? Got some big retrospective queued up to hit the Innernets late this afternoon? I am hanging much closer to Unfair Park today than usual.

Forget about "end of an era" - this is like the end of a geologic period.

Puzzled
Puzzled

So where is the money coming from to fund these improvements?

just wondering
just wondering

Robert.......NOT that I'm complaining, but........ what are you still doing here?  Weren't you supposed to start working for The Man today?

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

let me guess......Texxas Jam circa 1979? I miss the Texxas Jam; use some of that sweet DMN money yer gonna be makin', and bring TJ back to life. 

Chris
Chris

except the 2020 bids were due a year ago...  and the final choice is less than a year away.  And there are no US cities in contention.  funny how actually doing research works.

Bob
Bob

 An Olympics in Dallas - it would be in the summer, mind you - will never happen. See Atlanta 1996.

T. Erickson
T. Erickson

The Cotton Bowl is great, but how many events have been added since the last big renovation/expansion? Two? Three?Just call it what it is - another effort to keep the OU-Texas game from going to Arlington. And if that's what it is, does it really have to cost $27 million?

DuckDuckGoose
DuckDuckGoose

 I was too busy admiring the girl on the right with the Farrah hair. 

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Like I said above, not going to make too much out of this departure -- maybe some music with which to end the day (probably should post Radiohead at Music Hall in '98, no?), a few well wishes, something like that. A little wrung out this last day, but I am very, very excited about what's to come -- not just at The News, where I am looking forward to new beginnings and great things, but here too, where others will have their chance to put their stamp on a blog I've hogged for a long, long time.

T. Erickson
T. Erickson

Maybe it can be the Margaret Hunt Hill Cotton Bowl

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Actually, my first day at The News is one week from today. This is supposed to be my transition week off -- cleaning out the office, filling out adios paperwork, etc. Tomorrow's my Official Last Day, though today's my last day running Unfair Park from start o' day till end o' day. And, look, I really just don't wanna make a big deal out of it. Just keepin' my head down and doing the job on the blog I started for the paper at which I grew up till it's time to stop. Hard to say goodbye, ya know?

Bob
Bob

You simply need to depart Hootenanny-style. Slowly bring the roadies, er, interns, to take over your duties this week.

Jack E. Jett
Jack E. Jett

Robert.....Are you going to have a office garage sale?  I bet you have a shitload of swagger.  Please some off at my house. 

T. Erickson
T. Erickson

So what's the over-under on FoF working the blog up until Mong hands him his DMN ID badge?

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

 That said: I am anxiously awaiting the opportunity that lies ahead.

Paul
Paul

 Just so long as they don't say:

"Gee, we missed you so much, we didn't realize you were gone."

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

I can already see it in the staff's eyes -- that look that says, "You're not gone yet? Sheesh."

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