In a bid to keep the Bears in Chicago, Lori Lightfoot recently unveiled plans to add a state-of-the-art dome atop the iconic Soldier Field.
The $2.2 billion proposal comes after plans were revealed to update the Museum Campus. While the addition of an actual dome is still up in the air, it is included in the proposal as one of three options. Other options include making Soldier Field ready for future construction, or, if the Bears decide to leave the city, plans would involve modernizing the stadium (minus a dome) for the Chicago Fire FC to step in.
All of this hinges on whether the Bears move to the suburbs. If they stay and the dome is added, it would modernize the stadium, creating an enclosed field available for year-round use. Making it a climate-controlled situation, the proposed dome would sit on four “super columns” that would be built around the existing structure. This expansion would add to the capacity of the stadium, creating suites, new rows, and four times as much space.
In renderings, the dome project would be designed by Robert Dunn. He is known for developing stadiums for teams like the Green Bay Packers, and the Minnesota Vikings. Other plans include reconfiguring Soldier Field’s seating plan, adding amenities for year-round use of the site, and potentially exploring naming rights sponsorships at Soldier Field, while still keeping the original name, which honors its legacy as a war memorial.
The stadium, which was last updated in 2002, Lightfoot is campaigning to keep the Bears in the city. She did not detail how they plan to finance a dome, only mentioning it could involve NFL financing, naming rights revenue, and debt.
[Featured photo via: City of Chicago]