The Houston Astrodome
The ASTRODOME became more than just a dream.
In fact, it has been an integral part of the growth of the America`s
fourth - largest city.
Concerts and rodeos have called the ASTRODOME home as have other big events including the 1992 Republican National Convention.
Song artist as varied as George Strait, the Rolling Stones, Metallica and the BRIGHTEST STAR
ELVIS PRESLEY, have performed
in the HOUSTON ASTRODOME.
This amazing structure that in many years shaped Houston, marks the 35th anniversary
The ELVIS in ASTRODOME Fan Club - BRAZIL, pays respects to this grand-old
Opened : April 12, 1965
Capacity : 54,313 (baseball); 62,439 (football)
Surface : Tifway 419 Bermuda grass (1965); Astroturf (1966 to present)
Location : center field (E), Fannin Street; third base (N), Old Spanish Trail; home plate (W), Kirby Drive; first base (S), South Loop Freeway/Interstate 610.
Dimensions : foul lines:325 ft.; power alleys: 375 ft.; center field: 400 ft.; apex of dome: 208 ft.; backstop: 52 ft..
Billed as the Eighth Wonder of the World by Astros original owner, Judge Roy Hofheinz,
the Astrodome was the first ballpark to have a roof over the playing field. It also boasted cushioned orange and red seats,
53 futuristic Skyboxes, and a $2-million scoreboard featuring home run extravaganzas, cartoons,
and helpful instructions to fans. At first, the Astrodome had real grass. An exhibition game between the Astros and the New
York Yankees demonstrated that the semitransparent cream-colored panels in the roof made fly balls too difficult to see.
So, the ceiling tiles were painted, and the grass died, prompting the invention of plastic grass known as Astroturf, which was
laid down for Opening Day, 1966.
The Astrodome is the world's first all-weather, multi-purpose domed stadium, and opened its doors for the first time on April 9, 1965 when the Astros played host to the New York Yankees in an exhibition game.
- officially named the Harris County Domed Stadium, the Astrodome was
financed by an $18 million general obligation bond which passed in January, 1961.
- the cost of the project, including off-site improvements, land acquisition, engineering fees, site roads and parking lot paving, was $31.6 million.
- the Astrodome and its adjoining facilities - the Astrohall and Astroarena - are operated by Astrodome USA.
- under a lease agreement with Harris County that extends with options to 2024, Astrodome USA pays an annual lease fee, plus all operating costs for the right to sub-lease the facilities
A new artificial turf for baseball and an enlarged seating capacity are two Of the highlights of a $60 million expansion project which was completed in the fall of 1989.
- the first stage of the renovation saw the concreting of the floor, which had been dirt since the stadium first opened in 1965.
- a new Monsanto "Magic Carpet' system provides separate turfs for football and baseball ... the new turfs are housed in storage pits in center field and are rolled out on a cushion of air ... each turf is marked for its sport and the new system substantially reduces the time needed for conversion of the stadium.
- the Astrodome is the first stadium in the country to have two separate playing surfaces at its disposal.
- after pioneering the idea of luxury suites in 1965 with Sky Boxes, 66 new Star*Columbia Suites have been added on the Club Level.
Stadium Complex Covers 260 Acres
The stadium structure covers nine-and-a-half acres of land, while the entire Astrodomain complex covers 260 acres.
- the outside diameter of the Astrodome structure is 71 0 feet...the stadium's floor is approximately 25 feet below normal ground level, affording minimum vertical travel by fans.
Comfortable Cushioned, Upholstered Seating
There are 51,000 cushioned, upholstered (seat and back) theatre seats in the Astrodome, along with approximately 4,000 pavilion seats (wooden back, upholstered seats).
- seating capacity for baseball is 54,370; for football, 63,001; for conventions, 68,000; and a maximum of 74,000 for boxing or similar events.
- seating can be arranged to accommodate any type of sports or meeting from rodeos to national political conventions.
- to convert from baseball to football seating, the stands holding 1 0,000 seats on the Field Level rotate on steel rails until they parallel the football sidelines
- seating is arranged on six levels, allowing in effect for six front rows ... all seats face the center of the playing area for baseball and football with the radius point of the stadium 20 feet behind second base on the baseball diamond.
Diamond Vision and Scoreboard
The famous Astrodome scoreboard and home run spectacular were dismantled in September, 1988 to facilitate the 10,000-seat expansion program.
- two Diamond Vision screens, a large matrix board, two auxiliary matrix boards and a game-in-progress board replace the old system.
- each Diamond Vision is a 26 1/2 by 37 1/24oot instant replay screen that brings field action up close for spectators ... the screen's clear pictures are the product of 43,200 35mm CRTs (a home television is one CRI).
- the Diamond Vision brain is a state-of-the-art television production facility operated by a nine-person crew that includes technicians and cameramen.
- auxiliary matrix boards in left and right field display game information, messages, animation and out-of-town scores ... the game-in-progress board is located behind home plate. These two systems became operational during the winter of 1988.
- a 26 by 34-foot matrix board was constructed in left field and began operation during the 1989 baseball season... this board is the primary source of messages, animations, and statistics... the scoreboard system, built by the Fairtron Corporation, is controlled by high-level personal computers and is operated by a three-man crew.
- the system is the largest computer-run matrix board in the nation.
- two manually operated, out-of-town scoreboards giving inning by inning scores of games in progress, were incorporated into the outfield wall in 1993.
Ramps, Escalators Provide Easy Access
Wide, low-pitched ramps and two sets of escalators provide easy access to seats ... the entire stands can be emptied in nine minutes with a maximum crowd.
Unique Roof and Lighting System
The permanent roof of the Astrodome, which has a clear span of 642 feet (twice that of any previous structure), has a maximum height of 208 feet above the playing field, which would allow the construction of an 18-story building under the roof.
- the roof design consists of a steel lamella frame incorporating trussed beams arching upward to meet at the center, braced in a diamond pattern.
- the steel skeleton supports a roof containing 4,596 cast acrylic sheet skylights (7'2" by 3'4").
- the roof can withstand hurricane winds of 135 miles per hour and gusts up to 165.
- the field is illuminated to an average brightness of 265 footcandles by 800 floodlights ... the total electric power consumed exceeds 18,000 KVA, more than that needed by a city of 9,000 population.
More Than 6,000 Tons of Air Conditioning
The stadium is completely air-conditioned with 6,600 tons of cooling capacity during events.
- the system circulates 2.5 million cubic feet of air each minute.
- also every minute, 250,000 cubic feet of fresh air is drawn into the stadium, conditioned by electronic filters and activated
charcoal odor removers, then distributed through the system ... smoke and hot air are drawn out through the top of the roof.