- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 13, 2006

12:59 p.m.

ARLINGTON, Texas - The Dallas Cowboys are taking their distinctive hole-in-the-roof design with them to their new $1 billion stadium.

Only this time, the playground will feature a sliding lid to keep the elements out. That’s a must considering there’s going to be a 60-yard-long, 50-foot-high scoreboard hanging over the football field.

With a glowing, glass facade, humongous sliding doors that can open both ends and 80,000 seats - 100,000, if necessary - the Cowboys sure are aiming for the kind of showplace you’d expect from a club that bills itself as “America’s Team.”

“I’m convinced it’s a building that will be a classic when it comes to looking at its design,” team owner Jerry Jones said following a Tuesday night, Oscars-esque bash where the new design was revealed.

Complete with a red-carpet entrance that actually was the team’s shade of blue, the party featured 10 members of the team’s Ring of Honor and, of course, a performance by the Cowboys cheerleaders.

Bob Costas was the master of ceremonies and his hyperbole-filled introduction included calling the stadium “the most extraordinary athletic facility ever conceived … a 21st century, supersonic setting.” A video leading to computer-generated shots of the interior referenced the Pyramids in Egypt and the Colosseum among other architectural wonders.

The unnamed 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 skyrocketing tab is worth every penny to Jones, a former oil wildcatter-turned-billionaire who loves making a splash as much as he loves winning championships.

“No doubt about it, I want our fans to have the pride in a building that is recognized in a quality way,” Jones said.

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