ATLANTA — There is less than two week's time left until the Georgia Dome implosion, and people who have worked there for decades say it's bittersweet.
Channel 2's Craig Lucie went to the Dome on Tuesday, and Ken Jefferson, who has worked there since day one, shared with him the building's greatest moments.
“When we hosted the Olympics, we had gymnastics on one side and basketball on the other,” Jefferson told Lucie.
Jefferson is retired now, but for most of his adult life, he was at the Georgia Dome, where he helped organize every major event as the event services manager.
“I’m a little melancholy. I’m sad because you figure I grew up in this industry and in this building for 20 years. My family and I myself grew up in there,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson was there when construction crews broke ground to build the then-$214 million Dome in November 1989. It became his home away from home.
“Super Bowls and the Final Four. And of course, the SEC,” Jefferson said, recalling some of the events he'd seen at the Dome.
Jefferson also shared his Olympics memories with Lucie.
“I’m not sure I can say what is the best event. My favorite event was USA track and field, when I got to see world-class athletes interact with the fans. You don’t see that in professional sports,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson said it’s not necessarily the building he will miss, it’s the staff who brought it to life.
“My fondest memories will always be with the staff,” Jefferson said.
Jefferson said he saw heroes during Super Bowl 34, when an ice storm crippled the city.
"It could have been disastrous because of the storm. Not people being able to get here, it was the staff that took it upon themselves that said, 'If we have to just sleep in the stands and sleep upright, we're going to stay here to make sure that Super Bowl 2000 kicks off and kicks off on time,'" Jefferson said.
Jefferson told Lucie that November 20 - implosion day - will be tough.
"To see you house, you first house that you remember, to go down, it's a little hard to take at times," Jefferson said.
Jefferson believes the Georgia Dome put Atlanta on the sports map. He has worked as a consultant for the last 12 Super Bowl games.
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