Dallas’ Cotton Bowl Stadium and surrounding Fair Park area are slated for upgrades in the coming years.

What happened

Fair Park First and Dallas Park and Recreation have revealed plans to renovate parts of the 277-acre fairgrounds, according to an Oct. 6 news release. Renovations will focus on the stadium, a privately funded community park and Music Hall at Fair Park.

“This is the first cog in the wheel of a greater mechanism, providing funding for the future of the campus,” said Darren James, Fair Park First board president, in a statement. “Unlike previous renovations, which centered around increasing capacity, this project amplifies the fan experience for everyone who visits Fair Park.”

A groundbreaking date for the projects has not been determined yet, Fair Park First CEO Brian Luallen said.

The specifics

Renovations to the Cotton Bowl Stadium will occur in two phases over two years, according to the news release. The $140 million project aims to enhance visitor experience and modernize some aspects of the stadium.

Planned improvements include:
  • Widening concourses
  • Tripling the current square footage per guest in key areas
  • Adding escalators
  • Improving the in-stadium Wi-Fi signal
  • Increasing the number of hospitality areas and premium environments
The renovations will be conducted in two phases which will allow the stadium to host events during the 2024 State Fair of Texas without interruption.

Overland Partners took the lead in designing renovations for the stadium in collaboration with McAfee3 Architects, Modus and Norman Alston Architects.

What they’re saying

“We are committed to steward this project collectively to ensure these refurbishments continue to bring people of different backgrounds together and strengthen Fair Park,” Dallas Park Director John Jenkins said in a statement. “The upgrades will keep the Cotton Bowl and other venues competitive, recruiting global events.”

The background

Fair Park opened in 1886 and was declared a national historic landmark in 1986, according to its website. Cotton Bowl Stadium opened in 1930 with 46,000 seats.

Today the stadium has more than 91,000 seats and is known for hosting the annual Red River Showdown football game between The University of Texas and University of Oklahoma, according to Fair Park’s website.

For more information about upcoming renovations and how to get involved, go to www.fairparkfirst.org.