The Georgia Dome is a recently retired domed stadium in the southeastern United States, currently under demolition. Located in Atlanta between downtown to the east and Vine City to the west, it was owned and operated by the State of Georgia as part of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. Its successor, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, was built adjacent to the south and opened in August 2017.
|Address||1 Georgia Dome Drive Northwest|
|Public transit||Dome / GWCC / Philips Arena / CNN Center (MARTA station)
Vine City (MARTA station)
|Owner||Georgia World Congress Center Authority|
|Operator||Georgia World Congress Center Authority|
Georgia State football: 28,155
Total Capacity: 80,000
|Broke ground||November 22, 1989|
|Opened||September 6, 1992|
|Closed||June 9, 2017|
|Construction cost||$214 million
($365 million in 2016 dollars)
|Architect||Heery International; Rosser FABRAP International; and tvsdesign|
|Structural engineer||Weidlinger Associates|
|General contractor||Beers/Georgia Dome Team|
|Atlanta Falcons (NFL) (1992–2016)
Atlanta Hawks (NBA) (1997–1999)
Peach Bowl (NCAA) (1993–2016)
Georgia State Panthers (NCAA) (2010–2016)
Celebration Bowl (NCAA) (2015–2016)
The Georgia Dome was the home stadium for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and the Georgia State University Panthers football team. It hosted 25 editions of the Peach Bowl (January 1993 through December 2016) and 23 SEC Championship Games (1994−2016). In addition, the Georgia Dome also hosted several soccer matches since 2009 with attendances over 50,000. In its 25-year lifespan, the Georgia Dome has hosted over 1,400 events attended by over 37 million people.
At its debut in 1992, the Georgia Dome was the largest covered stadium in the world by capacity; it had since been surpassed by AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, and Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.
The Georgia Dome was completed in 1992 at a cost of $214 million, which came from the Georgia General Assembly, making it one of the largest state-funded construction projects in Georgia history. The stadium seated 74,228 for football, approximately 80,000 for concerts, and 71,000 for basketball when the dome was fully open, and 40,000 for basketball and gymnastics when the dome was sectioned off (one half closed off by a large curtain). For most Georgia State football games, the dome was configured with 28,155 seats, with tickets for only the bulk of the lower level and the club-level seats on sale. The record for overall attendance at the Georgia Dome came during a college football game, with 80,892 at the SEC Championship Game in 2008.
The structure was located on 9.19 acres (3.72 hectares) of land; the dome had a height of 270.67 ft (82.50 m), a structure length of 745.75 ft (227.30 m), a structure width of 606.96 ft (185.00 m), and a total floor area of 102,149.51 square feet (9,490.00 m2). The dome was the largest cable-supported dome in the world. Its roof was made of teflon-coated fiberglass fabric and had an area of 374,584.08 square feet (34,800.00 m2). From its completion until the December 31, 1999 opening of the 20-acre (8.09-hectare) Millennium Dome in London, it was the largest hooked domed structure of any type in the world.
The Georgia Dome originally used AstroTurf artificial surface for its football events. In 2003, Arthur Blank, the new owner of Atlanta Falcons, funded the installation of the new infilled FieldTurf artificial surface system.
In 2006, the Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority announced a $300 million renovation to the Georgia Dome. The project was separated into two stages. The first stage, which took place before the 2007 NFL season, focused on updating the premium seating areas, including the creation of eight 'super-suites' as well as an owners' club. In 2008, the exterior of the stadium was repainted, replacing the original teal and maroon color scheme with a red, black, and silver theme to match the Falcons' team colors; the stadium's original teal seats were replaced with red seats in the lower and upper levels and black seats in the middle level. The entrance gates and concourses were also renovated and updated before the 2008 football season. In 2009, the video screens in both end zones were relocated to a new exterior monument sign on Northside Drive. The interior end zones each received a new and considerably wider High Definition video screen that significantly enhances views of replays, as well as graphics and digital presentations. A new sound system was installed in the same year, replacing the previous system that was nearly 20 years old.
Three years after the completion of the Dome, the integrity of its roof became an issue. During a Falcons pre-season game in August 1995, a severe rainstorm caused water to pool on the fabric, tearing part of the material, and causing a section of the roof to fall into the stadium. The storm was intense enough that the roof panels could be seen moving during the game, and the water and roof material later fell with enough force to smash seats in the upper decks and knock holes in concrete floors. The collapse occurred after fans left the stadium, and no one was injured during the incident. The roof was eventually repaired in a way that prevented similar incidents from occurring in the future.
In the 2008 Atlanta tornado outbreak on March 14, 2008, during the 2008 SEC Men's Basketball Tournament, a tornado ripped two holes in the dome during the Alabama–Mississippi State quarterfinal game, delaying the game for about an hour. The quarterfinal game to follow between the Kentucky Wildcats and Georgia Bulldogs was postponed until the following day. The resulting damage forced the rest of the tournament to be moved to the Alexander Memorial Coliseum, now known as Hank McCamish Pavilion, at Georgia Tech.
Replacement and demolitionEdit
In 2010, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority announced plans for a new stadium with a retractable roof just south of the Georgia Dome, with the new stadium receiving approval from the city of Atlanta, Fulton County, and Georgia state governments in 2013 and broke ground and commenced construction in 2014. The Falcons' final game in the Dome was the 2016 NFC Championship Game on January 22, 2017, with a 44–21 victory over the Green Bay Packers. The stadium's final public event took place on March 4 and 5, 2017 with back-to-back Monster Jam shows. Shortly after the Dome's closing, a group presented a petition to the governor's office to save the Georgia Dome from demolition; however, GWCCA officials stated that maintaining two 70,000 seat stadiums was not financially feasible, and the Georgia Dome's fate was already sealed when Mercedes-Benz Stadium was approved in 2013.
Demolition of the Georgia Dome was to begin shortly after the stadium's final event; however, due to construction delays caused by the complexity of Mercedes-Benz Stadium's eight-panel retractable roof, demolition of the Georgia Dome was postponed until the new stadium's certificate of occupancy could be issued. GWCCA officials stated that the Georgia Dome would remain nominally operational until Mercedes-Benz Stadium is ready; however, the Dome's artificial turf had been removed prior to the announcement of the new stadium's delay. The Georgia Dome site will become greenspace for tailgating at Mercedes-Benz Stadium and other community events; a 600-car parking garage and a high rise convention center hotel are also planned for the site. On April 21, 2017, GWCCA officials announced that The Home Depot acquired the naming rights to the 13-acre (53,000 m2) park to be built on part of the Georgia Dome site. On June 9, 2017, Steve Cannon, CEO of the Falcons' parent company AMB Group, stated that construction officials were confident that Mercedes-Benz Stadium would be ready in time for the Falcons' first preseason game, and the process of decommissioning the Georgia Dome had resumed, with the Dome scheduled for implosion on November 20, 2017 at 7:30 am EST.
Demolition officials stated that the pressure from the implosion needs to go up from the roof and not out through the sides to ensure that Mercedes-Benz Stadium and other nearby buildings are not damaged during the demolition; to protect nearby structures, construction felt was placed over the four former entrance gates at the corners of the Dome, and a 70 foot (21 m) tall fence covered in the same material was erected between the Dome and Mercedes-Benz Stadium. To ensure that the roof falls in place during the implosion, parts of the concrete ring supporting the roof had been chipped away and ventilation holes will be cut into the roof fabric. 4,800 pounds (2,180 kg) of explosives will be used to bring the Dome down within 12 seconds. Due to the safety zone required for the demolition, no public viewing areas will be made available; additionally, MARTA officials announced that rail service west of the Five Points station would be suspended on the day of demolition until MARTA safety inspectors certify that trains can operate safely on the west lines. GWCCA officials stated that the implosion would be broadcast live by WSB-TV as well as livestreamed on the official websites of the Falcons, Atlanta United FC, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
In July 2017, GWCCA officials removed equipment they intend to reuse either at Mercedes-Benz Stadium or elsewhere on the GWCC campus while other equipment was liquidated by sealed bids. The Dome's utilities were shut off, and most of the seats in the lower and middle bowls had been removed, with bulk seats sold to high schools and colleges and pairs sold to individuals while most of the upper deck seats will be recycled. From September 16 to September 30, 2017, memorabilia from the Georgia Dome was sold in an online auction format by Schneider Industries. The stadium's lower bowl and loading docks were demolished by mid-August. After the Dome's demolition, the site will be graded and a retaining wall built to accommodate the future construction of the Home Depot Backyard and the GWCC hotel.
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The Dome was home to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons, the annual host (since 1998) to FCS Classic football game between Florida A&M Rattlers and another HBCU opponent (Southern Jaguars in 2011 and Tennessee State Tigers in prior years), and the annual host to the Southeastern Conference Football Championship Game and the Chick-fil-A Bowl (also known as the Peach Bowl) post-season college football games. The stadium also hosted Super Bowl XXVIII in 1994 and Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000. From the program's inception in 2010 until 2016, the stadium was home of the NCAA Division I Georgia State Panthers of Georgia State University; the university acquired the Atlanta Braves' former home of Turner Field with plans to renovate the former baseball park for football. The new incarnation of Turner Field is now known as Georgia State Stadium. From 2015 to 2016, the Dome hosted the Celebration Bowl, the annual post-season bowl match up between the MEAC and SWAC.
The Georgia Dome hosted the NCAA Final Four Men's Basketball National Championship in 2002, 2007, and 2013, along with regional semi-finals and finals in 2001, 2004, 2006 and 2012 and NCAA Women's Final Four in 2003. The SEC Men's Basketball Tournament has been held at the Georgia Dome during 10 seasons, most recently in 2014. The ACC Men's Basketball Tournament has been held at the Georgia Dome on two occasions, in 2001 and 2009. The NCAA Division I Basketball's Champions Classic was held at the dome in 2012.
It was also one of two homes, along with the facility then known as Alexander Memorial Coliseum, for the NBA's Atlanta Hawks during the construction of Philips Arena from 1997 to 1999 on the footprint of the former Omni arena. While playing at the Georgia Dome on March 27, 1998, the Atlanta Hawks set a then-NBA single-game attendance record with 62,046 fans.
For the 1996 Summer Olympics, one half of the arena hosted the basketball competitions (including final) while the other half hosted the artistic gymnastics events and team handball (men's final).
The Georgia Dome held a number of international soccer matches. On June 24, 2009, the Dome hosted its first ever soccer match between Mexico and Venezuela in front of 51,115 fans, with grass laid over the FieldTurf. On February 9, 2011, Mexico and Bosnia and Herzegovina played a friendly match in front of 50,507 fans. On July 20, 2013, the Dome hosted two quarter-final match-ups of the 2013 Gold Cup—Panama vs. Cuba and Mexico vs. Trinidad & Tobago—in front of 54,229 fans.
|Date||Winning Team||Result||Losing Team||Tournament||Spectators|
|June 24, 2009||Mexico||4–0||Venezuela||International Friendly||51,115|
|February 9, 2011||Mexico||2–0||Bosnia and Herzegovina||50,507|
|July 20, 2013||Panama||6–1||Cuba||2013 Gold Cup Quarterfinals||54,229|
|Mexico||1–0||Trinidad and Tobago|
In 2008, the Georgia Dome started showing safety videos before games, presented by Deltalina, flight attendant "mascot" of Delta Air Lines. The videos satirize Delta's massively popular "Deltalina" inflight safety videos. The videos' theme was "Delta Safety First".
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