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Board Opts For Half-Dome
Salt Lake City, UT (JM) - The Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex Authority, while on their annual retreat in Salt Lake City, Utah, formally adopted a resolution calling for plans to be developed for a reduced vision of their former proposal for an 80,000-seat multi-purpose covered event facility as part of an expansion of the BJCC.

The current proposal, dubbed a 'Half Dome', would have 40,000 seats, all on one side of the field. This would make it easier to use the facility for major conventions, concerts and other events while also providing room for future expansion should the board ever be able to purchase the necessary adjoining property.

Critics were quick to compare this half-dome proposal with one that was publicized seven years ago for Vulcan Park, but organizers say that the current proposal is so disimilar as to render comparisons fruitless. "It's half-apples and half-oranges," said BJCC director Jack Fields.

Jefferson County Commission president Bettye Fine Collins, who is a member of the BJCC board, insisted that, even though the half-dome is not primarily a sports arena, it would be designed to allow for a football configuration. It is expected that UAB would become one of the tenants for the new facility. Recently-appointed athletic director Brian Mackin said he had not seen the specifics and that UAB was still pursuing an on-campus field for home games. "But for the big games when Mississippi State or one of the big boys comes to town, it would be very handy to have a venue with 40,000 seats on the visitor's side."

There is every indication that the city of Birmingham will half-honor its commitment, as well as Jefferson County. With each of those entities contributing half of the cost (which is expected to be about half of the previously-projected cost of an 80,000 seat stadium), all that remains is for the State of Alabama to contribute its half so that Brantley Visioneering can be contracted to develop a project schedule.