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Proposed rehabilitation project would relight Pioneer Tower from within

Posted April 6, 2018

Pioneer Tower
A proposal calls for removing the aluminum grates that cover the original glass blocks on Pioneer Tower, allowing it to be lit from within once again.

The iconic Pioneer Tower at Will Rogers Memorial Center could get a high-tech facelift in time for the opening of the nearby Dickies Arena in late 2019.

City staff presented a plan to the City Council that would remove the aluminum grates from all sides of the 209-foot tower and relight the original glass blocks from within. The grates were installed sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Public Events Director Kirk Slaughter proposed a detailed design and engineering study to determine how much it would cost to replace or repair the glass blocks and install LED lights on the interior. The lights could be changed to celebrate local events, such as purple for a Horned Frogs victory or red, white and blue for the Stock Show.

The estimated budget is $1.5 million. The goal for project completion would be late 2019, coinciding with the opening of the 14,000-seat Dickies Arena, currently under construction just south of the tower.

Funding for the tower rehabilitation project would come from the Culture and Tourism Fund, which is collected from hotel occupancy and car rental taxes, along with revenues from events held at Will Rogers.

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

Pioneer Tower, flanked by the domed coliseum to the east and an auditorium to the west, is 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 Modern 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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