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Council green-lights Pioneer Tower project at Will Rogers Complex

Posted Feb. 4, 2019

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aerial shot of Pioneer Tower
Aluminum grates that cover the original glass blocks on Pioneer Tower will be removed allowing it to be lit from within once again.

The City Council approved $3.7 million to rehabilitate the iconic Pioneer Tower at Will Rogers Memorial Center, giving it a high-tech facelift in time for the opening of the nearby Dickies Arena late this year.

Public Events Director Kirk Slaughter presented a plan to the City Council that will remove the aluminum grates from all sides of the 209-foot tower and relight the original glass blocks from within. The grates were installed sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Plans call for replacing the glass blocks and installing LED lights on the interior. The lights could be changed to celebrate local events, such as purple for a Horned Frogs victory or pink for the Stock Show.

The estimated budget is $3,756,050. The goal for project completion would be late 2019, coinciding with the opening of the Dickies Arena, currently under construction just south of the tower.

In addition, Fort Worth Public Art has proposed video projection mapping at Pioneer Tower. The technology turns building facades into surfaces for video projection. That project is down the road, but the Council approved $325,000 in infrastructure that will make the public art aspect possible.

Pioneer Tower, flanked by the domed coliseum to the east and an auditorium to the west, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The facility, at 3401 W. Lancaster Ave., was built in 1936. Architect Wyatt C. Hedrick designed the buildings for the Texas Centennial celebration using a mixture of Classical Revival and Moderne styles. All three buildings are constructed with buff-yellow brick and are significant as one of the most outstanding examples of Art Deco architecture in Texas.

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