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Report: Dallas City Council approves $25.5 million upgrades for Cotton Bowl stadium

FROM STAFF REPORTS Published: April 13, 2012

The Dallas City Council voted Wednesday to spend $25.5 million to upgrade Cotton Bowl stadium, a move intended to secure the city's hold on the annual Red River Rivalry game between Oklahoma and Texas, the Bond Buyer newspaper reported.

Dallas voters have approved $51.5 million for renovating the Fair Park stadium in bond elections in 1995, 2003 and 2006.

The council chose to issue the debt voted on Wednesday as certificates of obligation rather than bonds, which would have required voter approval, because of time constraints.

Work on the stadium can't begin until 2014, and must be completed before the State Fair of Texas opens in late September of that year, the newspaper reported.

The 2006 bond issue expanded the stadium to 91,000 seats and added a large scoreboard, but both schools said more needs to be done to keep the game in Dallas.

OU and Texas are obligated to play the game at the Cotton Bowl through 2015. State Fair officials told the City Council last week this new money would ensure the game will stay in Dallas through 2020, the newspaper reported.

The new money will fund improvements including a new club seating area and communication technology in the press box, Cotton Bowl manager Roland Rainey said.

The annual Red River game began in 1900, and has been played in Dallas every year since 1929. Some have said they want the game rotated between the two campuses in Norman and Austin, Texas, and others have speculated that the game could be moved to the 3-year old Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.