Tacoma Dome’s new seats are in as venue gears up for first big show since renovations

Thursday will be here before you know it, and the workers at the Tacoma Dome are well aware of that.

They’ve been going full speed ahead with interior renovations since the last of the area’s summer graduations held at the venue. This week, they have to have the work finished before the Fall RV Show, starting 11 a.m. Thursday (Oct. 11).

Construction will continue as setup for the show begins.

“Things are still happening, Kim Bedier, director for Tacoma Venues and Events for the city, said during a preview Monday. ”The seats are almost complete, and they’re spectacular — super-comfortable and lots of leg room especially on the lower level.”

And the seats will stay inside, instead of stashed on the parking lot between events as they have been.

“Sorry, you’ll never see them there again,” Bedier said, smiling, “but that opens up parking.”

Additionally, she said, “We can now get in and out of a show faster ... which opens up dates on the calendar to book.”

The renovations come on the Dome’s 35th year of operations at a cost of just over $30 million. They include:

New, retractable seating on the lower level.

New seats for the upper level (goodbye, hard benches).

Upgraded restrooms, concessions, heating, cooling, lighting and audio.

With added restroom space, “There may still be the odd lineup, but nothing like before,” Bedier said.

Thursday’s trade show is a good way for the venue to ease into the fall concert season, which has been filling up with bookings in the past few months.

It will start Nov. 1 with Drake, followed on Nov. 11 with Joe Walsh and VetsAid (special guest Ringo Starr), Justin Timberlake on Nov. 12-13, Twenty One Pilots on Nov. 16 and Fleetwood Mac on Nov. 17.

And the Dome isn’t just celebrating completion of the renovation. Earlier this year, it was recognized by the concert trade publication Pollstar as No. 28 worldwide in ticket sales.

Bedier also was recently honored as venue executive of the year by the International Entertainment Buyers Association, a nonprofit trade organization.

She not only oversees the Dome, but also operations at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center, Pantages and Rialto theaters, the Theater on the Square and Cheney Stadium. She’s also a board member for Travel Tacoma and Tacoma South Sound Sports.

““It is particularly exciting to receive recognition, for all of us, as we embark on the most exciting time as we debut the newly refreshed Dome,” Bedier said in a statement after receiving the honor.

Debbie Cockrell: 253-597-8364, @Debbie_Cockrell