Jan 17, 2011 8:17 AM by Nichole Larkey & AP

Work to resume on Superdome renovation

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Work will begin Jan. 24 on the final phase of the Superdome's renovation project to add more seats, lounges and concession spaces to a building ravaged by Hurricane Katrina..
Five-month project will further
spruce up the building that has undergone massive upgrades since the hurricane wrecked the 36-year-old venue in 2005.
When construction begins, workers will make changes to the lower bowl of the stadium, reconfiguring it to increase seating by 3,500,
widening the plaza concourse, building two bunker club lounges and adding additional concession stands.
The $85 million renovation was part of the 15-year lease extension between the Saints and the state. The project also
includes tearing down the temporary stairs that lead from Champions
Square to the Dome, replacing them with permanent steps. Workers
also will complete the installation of express elevators that will
taxi coaches and media from the ground level of the stadium to the
press box.
"The ease and the convenience of the new bunker clubs is unique
in that it will bring our fans quickly and as close to the action
as possible," said Saints owner/executive Rita Benson LeBlanc.
"Creating these additional club seats will allow us to remain
competitive in attracting future Super Bowls, the premiere sporting
event in the world."
The work is scheduled for completion by June 13, according to
Dome officials.
Work could have begun sooner, but the crews had to wait until
the Saints were eliminated from the postseason. The Saints lost
41-36 at Seattle on Jan. 8 in the wild-card round of the playoffs.
With the exceptions of events in the stadium's super lounges,
the construction will close the stadium for the next five months.
But it will be open in time for the annual Essence Festival on
Fourth of July weekend.


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