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Council approves additional funding for Pioneer Tower project at Will Rogers Complex

Posted Sept. 11, 2019

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Pioneer Tower with a scaffold surrounding it
For most of this year, Pioneer Tower has been shrouded in scaffolding as crews enhance the facility ahead of a November reopening.

The City Council approved an additional $981,050 to finish rehabilitating 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 later this year.

Early this year, contractors began rehabbing the tower. During the process, unforeseen conditions were identified that require additional repairs to ensure the integrity of the structure. The additional work is expected to extend the life of the facility and reduce ongoing maintenance costs.

Infrastructure-related work on the tower will include replacing a limestone band, which was determined to be structurally unsound, and the lower glass blocks on the north side of the tower.

Total cost of the project is now $4,737,100. Funds for the infrastructure work will come from the Public Events Capital Fund.

Aluminum grates have been removed from all sides of the 209-foot tower so it can be lit from within. The grates were installed sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

In addition, Fort Worth Public Art is developing video projection mapping at Pioneer Tower. The technology turns building facades into surfaces for video projection.

A public relighting celebration is planned for Nov. 6.

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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