A Texas-Sized Stadium

If everything is truly bigger in Texas, the Dallas Cowboys’ proposed stadium proves the point. When completed, the $1 billion, 2.3 million-square-foot building will be the largest stadium in the U.S.

The as-yet-unnamed stadium will feature a distinctive hole-in-the-roof design, including a sliding lid to keep the elements out. That’s a must considering there’s going to be a 180- by 50-foot scoreboard hanging over the football field.

The glass façade will glow with the Cowboys’ signature colors of blue and silver, with the colors alternating from day to night. On either end of the stadium will be humongous sliding doors that can open at both ends to reveal civic plazas.

Capacity will normally be 80,000 seats – but 100,000 can be squeezed in if necessary with end zone standing-room-only areas.

Designed by Bryan Trubey of Dallas-based architecture firm HKS Architects Sports & Entertainment Group, the Arlington venue will include 200 luxury suites – including some at field level. Despite its massive size – it is expected to be the largest column-free space in the world – the upper deck seats will be closer to field level than at any other stadium in the NFL.

"I’m convinced it’s a building that will be a classic when it comes to looking at its design," team owner Jerry Jones boasted.

The facility is scheduled to open in 2009. The club already has begun lobbying to host the 2011 Super Bowl, and probably won’t have a problem luring more major events if it lives up to its billing as the largest pro sports venue in the country. Final Fours and political conventions already are on the team’s wish list.

The Cowboys initially projected the stadium to cost $650 million. In November 2004, Arlington voters agreed to pay for $325 million of it as long as the club paid for any overruns.

The most striking element will be the midfield scoreboard that stretches over the field between the 20-yard lines on either end. According to Trubey, fans will have the equivalent of watching the game on a 52-inch plasma screen from 12 feet away.