Renovations to the Cotton Bowl Stadium in Fair Park will begin at the start of the new year, according to a filing with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
The project will be completed in two phases over two years. The first is expected to be finished before the 2024 State Fair of Texas, and the second will begin shortly after the festivities and finish before the 2025 State Fair.
“We’re going to be able to keep all the strength of the Cotton Bowl but improve the accommodations and the amenities,” Bryan Trubey of Overland Partners, the Dallas-based architectural firm responsible for the project, told The Dallas Express. “I think this is going to be a giant step into having the Cotton Bowl transform from somewhat of a latent asset to one of the biggest economic impacts for the city. Experientially, it’s an amazing building. I think once we combine those two things, there’ll be a lot better national awareness of the Cotton Bowl.”
The project will include altering the 50-yard line press box to include areas for broadcasting and premium seating areas, moving some of the press closer to the action, adding escalators, and expanding concourses, restrooms, and food and beverage facilities.
Phase One will lay the groundwork, while the visual changes will come during Phase Two.
While the project will modernize the stadium and bring it into the 21st century, Overland wants to preserve its historic nature.
“It will be nothing short of transformative compared to the way it is right now,” Trubey explained. “Of course, we’re still preserving the historic exterior character of the Cotton Bowl. … There’s only three or four of the original big bowls left, and the Cotton Bowl is the least restored and renovated because it was just built before current seating standards were in place.”
“There’s a lot of visibility into the stadium, and that’s one of the things we’re maintaining,” he added. “Then, there’s a lot of visibility externally. You can look out [of the stadium]. I think those are the kinds of things we’re going to continue preserving and maintaining. But once we add the right amount of concessions and restrooms and just free areas, the area that you can walk around in the concourse, and then the escalators … I think that it’s just going be a completely different building from an experience standpoint.”
Overland and the City of Dallas have scheduled the work to be done around the State Fair, explaining that they will halt project work once the event comes around. It will not disturb the annual Red River Rivalry and State Fair Classic college football games.
Overland Partners has previous experience renovating iconic stadiums, most recently updating Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium. The company is also responsible for building newer venues like SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles and U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota.