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March 28, 2000

Yakima has new cause to brag as Kingdome demolition dust settles

YAKIMA (AP) -- The demolition of Seattle's Kingdome has given this central Washington city some bragging rights.

The big blast Sunday has apparently left the Yakima Valley SunDome as the only building in the world featuring a sequentially poured concrete roof.

Greg Stewart, who oversees the SunDome's operations as president of the Central Washington State Fair, is trying to decide whether to have a sign built to tell the world of the SunDome's new status.

Officials at the 10-year-old, 7,500-seat SunDome have been unable to identify any other structure with a similarly constructed roof.

"We've had a lot of inquiries over the years," Stewart said Sunday.

The matter's importance is not lost on residents of the city of 65,000, known in part for the sunny skies it enjoys on the opposite side of the Cascades from rainy Seattle.

"It's a good deal for us," said state Sen. Alex Deccio, R-Yakima, who fought to have the SunDome built.

Yakima's dome was a miniature version of the Kingdome, and both buildings were designed by the same architect, Seattle's Jack Christensen. The roofs of both buildings were poured in pie-shaped sections.

The SunDome is arguably more visually appealing than its bigger hamburger-shaped cousin, due at least in part to the nearly 50,000 reflectors arranged in patterns around the building's upper outside wall by Ellensburg artist Dick Elliott. The reflector art, like the SunDome itself, is the largest of its kind in the world.

The SunDome was conceived in the mid-1980s as a multipurpose pavilion. It was dedicated Jan. 16, 1990.

The SunDome could retain its unique status for a long time. The sequentially poured design has fallen out of fashion.

"It should last umpteen generations," SunDome contractor Don Moen said. "I really enjoy the design; it was simple yet attractive."

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