Authority seeking a long-term plan for Georgia Dome

ATLANTA -- The Georgia World Congress Center Authority is trying to determine what to do with the Georgia Dome.

The authority agreed on Tuesday to pay Populous architects of Kansas City, Mo. $145,000 to propose a master plan for the Dome, the home of the Atlanta Falcons since 1992. The results could be available by early spring.

Populous specializes is sports arenas.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank has said he wants a new stadium when the bonds sold to build the dome are paid off.

Dan Graveline, executive director of the Congress Center, told board members the study would look at the merits of renovating the dome or building a new stadium.

Populous looked at the Dome's future in a study it conducted for the authority last year that examined the entire campus.

This study would give the authority and the Falcons a more complete look at the building.

It will consider the options of building a new dome, an open-air arena or having a retractable roof. It also will look at the cost of gutting the current building and starting over.

The study could include Dome officials looking at newer NFL stadiums, including the one the Dallas Cowboys opened this year.

''For $1.3 billion, one would hope that that's the best damn stadium out there or you're doing something wrong,'' Graveline said.