Phase Two of the renovation will focus on improvements to the two-story rotunda
The Pro Football HOF will have a ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday to celebrate the completion of a $27M renovation of the Canton, Ohio, facility. The “Future 50” project, constructed over the past two years, is the largest retrofit in the building’s 50-year history, expanding the hall’s total footprint to 118,000 square feet, an increase of 33,000 square foot over the last upgrades in '95. The project’s second phase, built over the past nine months, focused on improvements to the two-story rotunda, the building’s signature design element. It has been completely renovated with a new environmental control system to better preserve artifacts and storage of memorabilia, said HOF VP/Communications & Exhibits Joe Horrigan. New galleries include "The NFL’s First Century" on the first floor of the rotunda, using NFL Films archival footage to tell the story of the league’s first 100 years. The second level has new themed exhibits tied to racial equality, pop culture, undefeated teams and dynasties, science and innovation and pioneers of the game. Interactive displays include an authentic instant replay booth where visitors can “make the call.” The second phase also doubled the amount of conference and event space and expanded the HOF Store from 4,000 to 7,000 square feet. Project financing included funding from the NFL, local foundations, businesses and individuals, naming rights and long-term bond offerings. The NFL alone has contributed more than $10M since '07 to help pay for upgrades, Horrigan said. Huntington Bank, among the new sponsors, paid $500,000 in cash for a new welcome sign in the lobby. The Pro Football HOF opened in '63, and since that time, it has expanded by more than six times its original size with about $38M invested in renovations. HOFer Joe Namath is scheduled to participate in the ribbon cutting.