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Posted: 5:04 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, 2012
By Jim Strickland
A crucial step in the process of replacing the Georgia Dome with a new $1 billion retractable-roof stadium is underway. Officials are now weeding through a list of 10 firms that have come forward to apply for the design job. "I think the industry is hungry," said stadium procurement director Richard Sawyer. The winner gets a fee based on a percentage of a $700 million construction budget. A study on the Dallas Cowboys stadium put the total design fee on that project at greater than 9 percent. The 10 Georgia applications come from some of the major players in stadium design. "Generally we're looking at a combination of stability, experience, suitability for this project and really we're going to be look at past performance as well," Sawyer said. Designer of Cowboys Stadium, HKS of Dallas is applying. The company also lists Coolray Field in Gwinnett County in its portfolio. HKS has already roughed out what stadiums may look like on proposed sights north and south of the current dome as part of a 2009 project for the Georgia World Congress Center. The firm Populous of Kansas City, designers of the London Olympic Stadium, is also applying. That applicant has also done work in Atlanta drawing mock-ups in 2010 of what the current Dome could look like with a glassy renovation. Other applicants include Atlanta firm Rosser (Turner Field), Eisenman (University of Phoenix Stadium) and 360 Architecture (Metlife Stadium). The Legislature has to approve a key part of the funding for replacing the dome. Sawyer said transparency is crucial throughout the process. "Anytime there's public money involved, I think the public is owed the right to know what's going on," he said. The GWCC and the Falcons expect in March to be able to name the winner of the design job. Late next month, as part of the process, Sawyer said the first drawings of what the new stadium may look like could emerge.
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