Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Turner Field or the Colosseum?

Turner Field was built in 1995 Anno Domini at a final cost of just over $200 million.  It originally seated 89,000, but capacity fell to nearly 50,000 after its reconstruction into a baseball park.

The stadium looks remarkably similar to other baseball parks built at the time, which feature asymmetrical outfields.  Designers incorporated spaces for food courts, but probably not much thought to aesthetic designs.

As it stands now, Turner Field will cease to be useful after 20 years of service.  It replaced Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium which served both the Atlanta Falcons and the Atlanta Braves.  It was demolished after 30 years.

Atlanta also features other sports stadiums, such as the Georgia Dome and Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Its projected replacement in Cobb County, Georgia, will likely cost at least $650 million.

The Colosseum opened in 80 Anno Domini.  Its final cost was measured in Roman specie, but some have estimated that it may cost nearly $1 billion in modern money.

That would be before union contracts depending on the state.

Roman designers used concentric circles of arches as the basis of its design.  This gave it unparalleled strength to seat 80,000 spectators over centuries.  It was constructed of concrete, stone, and marble seating.  Authorities staged a variety of events there including gladiatorial games, plays, the ruthless killing of social outcasts by animals, and even mock naval battles on water.

Rome constructed an even larger stadium, the Circus Maximus, for chariot races.  It seated 250,000.

The city used this stadium for centuries.  Despite earthquakes and the theft of materials for building over the past 2,000 years, two thirds of it remains standing.  Below is how it likely looked in its original form.

Rome may have spent over $1 billion for its signature stadium.  But how much will metropolitan Atlanta donors, businesses, and taxpayers shell out for Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Turner Field, and the new Cobb County facility in a span of just about a half century?

We should take a lesson from the Romans.  Invest to last.  Build to last.  Stop sticking taxpayers with disposable stadiums.

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