NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Members of the La. Stadium & Exposition District Commission, commonly called the Superdome Commission, approved a contract with local construction company Broadmoor LLC to kick off the first phase of renovations at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The work will begin in January after the completion of the New Orleans Saints football season. And those overseeing the dome say the nearly $500 million dollar renovation project is part of the equation to keep the Saints in the city for at least the next 30 years.
Following the vote, the first renderings of the project were released to the media.
Kyle France, chairman of the LSED, says the overhaul of the stadium is necessary even though fans already enjoy a great experience at the facility.
"The importance of today, it's parallel to kicking off the football for the beginning of the game. This is the start of what we need to do to get this project rolling following the last football game of this season, whether it's a Saints playoff game, hopefully, NFC Championship or the BCS, one of the two and immediately after that we will start our renovation work,” said France.
The first phase of the renovation includes the removal of 80,000 square feet of ramps. New transportation systems will be installed, including stairs and elevators.
"This is a multi-phase, multi-year project that totals $450 million…we’re going to be moving pieces around and in this case we had the commissary involved in this phase, we decided to move it to another phase hopefully to save some money and be more cost effective, so this initial phase will be, it’ll be right at $53 million,“ said France. “It will involve the tearing out of the walkways, and interior ramps inside the Superdome which is about 80,000 square feet and then there are some other incidental items surrounding that as well.”
Dome officials said the architectural renderings made public include some of the major renovations that will come later.
"I think it's important for the public to understand that while we're advancing this project along, should a Saints fan or a visitor to the Bayou Classic or Sugar Bowl, or Essence Fest in the future year, or next year when they come in there, may not be a lot of what the pictures would suggest, those are coming in subsequent years as we move along,” said Evan Holmes, of ASM Global, the dome management company formerly known as SMG.
The entire project is slated to be completed by 2024 when the city hosts another Super Bowl.