Harris County Officials Say They Haven't Started Tearing Down The Astrodome

There's a lot of work going on around the Astrodome, but Harris County officials stress they're not tearing down the building. Voters will decide next month whether to fund the building's renovation, and officials say the work that's happening right now needs to be done regardless of the dome's fate.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett says the work going on at the Astrodome right now isn't what he would call "demolition."

"I would actually like to call them improvements to the Dome  rather than demolition to the Dome. This does in no way presage any demolition of the Dome. This is an improvement that had to be made, probably should have been made a long time ago, but we're doing it now."

The work is being done in advance of next month referendum on the Dome's future. 

Harris County voters are being asked to decide on a $217 million bond issue. 

If it's approved, revenues would be used to convert the Dome into a large-scale events facility.    

And as for all that activity around the Dome right now:

[construction sounds]

Edgar Colon with the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation says he doesn't want people to get the wrong idea. 

"Our concern is that the word got out somehow that the demolishing of the Astrodome has started and that's not the case."

So what exactly are they doing?  

Colon says it's work that needs to be done whether the Astrodome stays or goes.
 
"They're removing right now some of the old ticket windows we had here, we're removing some of the berms, the stairs, the ramps.  That's work that has to be done regardless."

County officials say the plan is to turn the Astrodome into what they call the gateway to Reliant Park. 

They envision a multipurpose venue that would host business gatherings, along with public events like fairs and concerts.

"In a nutshell it's going to give us 350,000 square feet of column-free, air-conditioned space that is going to be flexible enough to host any event that you can imagine. And that brings great possibilities for conventions and exhibits and trade shows that we can bring to the area."     

The work that's currently underway will cost Harris County about $8 million. 

Bio photo of Gail Delaughter

Gail Delaughter

Transportation Reporter

Gail Delaughter joined KUHF in October 2008 as Saturday morning news anchor and host. A native of New Orleans and a graduate of Southeastern Louisiana University, Gail has extensive experience in Texas and Louisiana as a radio news reporter and morning show anchor and co-host...