Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Does the Astrodome redevelopment need air conditioning?

I hadn’t thought about this, to be honest.

Also not air conditioned

As work continues on the initial stages of preparing the Astrodome for its new life as a parking and events venue, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo raised questions last week about the costs associated with redeveloping the former sports stadium.

Harris County’s new judge, who recently toured the property with officials from NRG Park, said she learned that the $105 million the county allocated to the redevelopment project did not include air conditioning.

“I’m looking to make sure the current plan is fiscally responsible and that it will get us to a point where the Astrodome is self-sustaining,” she said in an interview on Houston Public Media’s “Houston Matters.”

Hidalgo declined to comment further, but current and former county officials said the renovation costs were never meant to include traditional air conditioning. Rather, the climate inside would be maintained by a mechanical forced-air ventilation and convection-based system designed to keep the inside of the building more temperate when it is hot or cold outside.

“The thought process was that further phases would bring in air conditioning,” said County Engineer John Blount, who is managing the project.


For Ed Emmett, Hidalgo’s predecessor, the Astrodome project was never about nostalgia, but to keep the integrity of the NRG complex intact. The county has a contract with the rodeo and the Texans to maintain NRG Stadium in first-class condition.

“Those tenants are going to start coming to the county saying we need this or that upgrade. There’s no revenue source to provide those upgrades without the Dome,” Emmet said.

As far as the air conditioning, he said the idea was to make the space usable, “but not necessarily at 72 degrees.”

“My purpose from day one was to create nine acres of indoor space protected from the weather, where it would be preferable than being outside,” Emmett said.

I mean, it kind of makes sense. It just has to be cool enough, and contrary to popular belief it’s not always summer here. Seems a little weird to be talking about it now, but whatever.

Related Posts:


  1. Manny Barrera says:

    No air conditioning won’t work for people used to it. It is not just the temperature it is also the humidity.

    Less time I was without power for 2 weeks, one of the hurricanes, it was miserable. Maybe they could do as the school that I went to did, large commercial fans in the back of the room.

  2. mollusk says:

    Air conditioning isn’t all that necessary if you have well designed ventilation. During the insane heat a few years ago I was surprised by how comfortable Canino’s remained, even without air conditioning, because of the way the air movement worked… until I remembered the whole house fans of my childhood.

    If the primary use at first is to be a parking structure and a sheltered area during the Rodeo, then it doesn’t need A/C any more than any of the rest of the gazillion parking garages around the city do.

  3. Jules says:

    I thought the whole entire point of the dome was ac…

  4. Manny Barrera says:

    Mollusk, Canino was or is open air, Dome was not build for open air, I am not even sure how they would circulate the air, normally you want the air to go up and out, as hot air rises.

  5. Tory says:

    It’s not as crazy as it sounds. The primary use is the Rodeo and OTC, both in the spring, so good airflow probably adequate until there is a revenue stream to afford a new A/C system.