St. Louis Rams Want Retractable Roof Put on Edward Jones Dome

Justin Gibson@JustinNColumbiaCorrespondent IIIMay 9, 2012

Part of the St. Louis Rams counter proposal to the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission (CVC) has been leaked to Fox2Now, and it includes putting a retractable roof on the Edward Jones Dome.

The entire Rams proposal will be released to the public Monday; however, sources tell Fox2Now that the Rams want the current roof of the Edward Jones Dome torn off, and a retractable roof installed.

According to the Fox2Now report:

Construction experts have told us in the past that putting in such a roof would be almost impossible without major structural changes to the dome building itself, very expensive changes.

Experts that Fox spoke with claimed that retrofitting an existing stadium with a different roof could cost between $200 million and $300 million. It is unknown, however, how much changes to the Edward Jones Dome would cost because the Rams did not include any price tags in its proposal.

The Rams rejected the initial proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome submitted by the CVC in March. The plan outlined $124 million in stadium improvements, with more than 50 percent being funded by the Rams.

Included in the proposal from the CVC was constructing a 96-foot wide by 26-foot high scoreboard, building a new, three-story structure on Baer Plaza connecting to the Dome with a bridge over Broadway Street and installing window panels to allow more natural light inside the Dome and more.

The Rams submitted their counter proposal to upgrade the Edward Jones Dome to the CVC on May 1. However, it was not released to the public as both sides cited a confidentiality agreement for the negotiations. The CVC then asked a judge the following day to decide whether it was obligated to release the plan to taxpayers.

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster stepped in earlier this week saying he would comply with a Sunshine Law request that would make the Rams' counter offer open to the public.

If the CVC and Rams cannot find a resolution on how to make the Edward Jones Dome a "first tier" stadium, then the team could terminate its lease and move out of St. Louis in 2015.

The Edward Jones Dome, which opened in 1995, was financed primarily with $256 million in revenue bonds, which is still being paid off with $24 million annually in tax money. The state of Missouri is responsible for $12 million of that, while St. Louis city and county each pay $6 million.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Rams pay $500,000 each year to lease the Dome ($250,000 in rent and $250,000 in reimbursement for game-day costs). The team profits from advertising, concessions and box office revenue.

The CVC has until June to to either accept or reject the Rams' proposal. The matter will go to arbitration if the matter is not resolved by June 15.