It was interesting to say the least to listen to Fargo architect Terry Stroh go through various future expansion possibilities at the Fargodome on Wednesday, with options ranging from rather basic (adding bathrooms mainly) to the very cool (the structure pictured above) addition to the west side. Here is my story. It would include more banquet room space than the current east side addition, a rooftop patio, bathrooms, suites overlooking the field and club room space. Constructed over Albrecht Avenue, the lower level would be a climate controlled space that could be enclosed with garage doors. The white pillars seen on the street entrance would be capable of going up or down depending on if the that part of the facility is in use.
The difference, of course, is the cost. The high-end model picture here is estimated at $21.5 million and would be paid for be the dome reserve fund which is around $35 million or north of that. The trigger in all of this is the proposed convention center in Fargo and whether it will be built downtown or adjacent to the dome. My guess if it goes downtown, than the dome will probably, and should, sway toward the higher end cost of the addition in an effort to stay current. If the convention center is connected to the south end of the dome, than perhaps a less expensive west side addition would be in order. At its most basic, it would include bathrooms that could be closed off to the rest of the dome but accessible by tailgaters.
My preference would be this: If the convention center is built on to the dome, I would go with this option, which includes suites in the dome, the canopy over Albrecht Avenue with that climate controlled space that can be used by tailgating, boat shows, ag shows or whatever. Stroh said radiant heat would make it comfortable even in 20 to 30 degree days. Approximate cost: $13.9 million. Of interest: Albrecht Avenue by the dome is not claimed by the city or the dome (it’s just sort of there I guess) so there apparently would be no issues of closing it off at times.
If the convention center goes downtown, spend the money. Go with the castle version at the top of this post. It’s been proven in America over and over that if you build it, they will come. The best thing Fargo ever did was build the dome and it’s the next generation’s job to keep it one of the top venues in the Midwest.
Football fans will wonder about seating. Stroh and Fargodome general manager Rob Sobolik looked at all viable options and at best said the most that could be added would be around 1,200. That would be enough. I’m of the mindset that you don’t add seats when you’re smack dab in a dynasty; wait a few years and see what happens. Fargo will never be a major FBS school and around 20,000 capacity will suit this school just fine for many years to come.
Also, to answer a couple of reader questions: new video boards are being phased in as part of an overall video upgrade. We will get into more detail with all of this Saturday morning on Kolpack and Izzo when Sobolik joins us in studio at 10 a.m. on WDAY-AM or WDAY.com.