St. Louis’ Multipurpose Facility: The Dome at America’s Center

The Dome at America’s Center opened on November 12, 1995 with a St. Louis Rams 28 to 17 victory over the Carolina Panthers. Since then, the multi-purpose facility has hosted a wide variety of activities including conventions, concerts, consumer shows, exhibits, trade shows, and conventions. The addition of The Dome was a major factor in the America’s Center complex’s ability to set an attendance record. On January 27, 1999 more than 104,000 people filled the complex to participate in the Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II. The historic event was reported to be the largest indoor gathering ever held in the United States.

The $280 million project, which added another 162,000 square feet of prime exhibit space and 70,000 seats to St. Louis’ massive America’s Center complex, is the first convention facility in the nation built to these exacting state-of-the-art standards of functionality and flexibility:

Retractable seating – The first 14 rows of permanent seats in The Dome fold back to provide a smooth wall appearance when the exhibit hall floor is being used for trade shows or meetings. To attendees and exhibitors, the transition from the existing exhibit halls into the exhibit hall floor of The Dome is smooth and seamless.

Exhibit Floor Lighting – In most domed facilities, lights are permanently fixed at stadium event height and cannot be lowered to levels preferred for exhibits and trade shows. In The Dome, the grids can be set at 55 feet to provide the best lighting for exhibit hall events or as low as three feet to make attaching decorative banners or changing lightbulbs simple. For sports events, the lights will be set at the full 140-foot height.

Contiguous Halls – Hall 6, as the exhibit hall in The Dome is known, and its 162,000 square feet of prime exhibit space connects directly to the five halls in the existing building, creating an area of 502,000 square feet of contiguous prime exhibit space in America’s Center. The Dome’s opaque hard ceiling prevents daylight and outside noise from interfering with the sophisticated production needs of major conventions.

America’s Center first opened as the Cervantes Convention Center in 1977. In May 1993, the facility doubled in size and added the name America’s Center to reflect the building’s new capabilities and amenities. The entire complex, including The Dome, is operated by the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission (CVC).

With the addition of The Dome, the entire America’s Center facility covers a total of 2.7 million square-feet which includes 502,000 square-feet of prime exhibit space in six contiguous halls; 80 meeting rooms; a 28,000 square-foot ballroom; separate lobby and pre-function space for the building’s three main exhibit areas; a Dome club level (the largest in the world); a 1,411-seat lecture hall; the Executive Conference Center; covered, separate loading dock facilities for each exhibit area; and a floor-to-ceiling acoustical curtain which can divide Exhibit Hall 6, The Dome floor, in half.

The Dome rises 205 feet over St. Louis and covers 14 acres, dramatically changing the face of the downtown skyline.

In addition to hosting meetings, trade shows and special events, The Dome also has hosted the Men’s NCAA Final Four.

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