As excited as I am about the new stadium, it'll be kind of sad to see the Astrohall disappear. Now, break out the violins. http://www.chron.com/cs/CDA/story.hts/metropolitan/1299577 A quiet showstopper for Reliant Hall Astrodome's silent partner hosts last event as it faces wrecking ball By MARY VUONG Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle It was the silent partner, often overshadowed by the majesty of its neighbor, the world's first domed stadium. Yet since construction in 1966 by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, management officials estimate it has hosted hundreds, if not thousands, of events. Steve Campbell / Chronicle Visitors to the Houston Camper and RV Show enter Reliant Hall for the last time Sunday afternoon. The camper show was the final event for the facility, which was built next to the Astrodome as the Livestock Exposition Building in 1966. The building was later called Astrohall, then Reliant Hall. It was built as the Livestock Exposition Building, then later called Astrohall. In 2000, it became Reliant Hall after Reliant Energy bought naming rights. Sunday was its final day as host. Preparations for the May 1 demolition were scheduled to begin today, making way for additional surface parking spaces for Reliant Park. The complex will include a new exhibition center that opens April 13 with the Houston Auto Show, a new stadium where the Texans football team makes its debut in August, and the old Astrodome, which has been renamed Reliant Astrodome. In the hall on Sunday, the final hours were quiet, the occupants a reminder of the hall's history. Since 1973, brothers Bob Coffen Jr. and Larry Coffen have been running the Houston Camper and RV Show there twice a year. They've seen plenty in that time, including a hurricane that hit the city in the '70s, forcing the Coffens and their exhibitors to hold an impromptu sleepover. "We ate hamburgers and hot dogs all night and got real close to our clients," Bob Coffen said. "If these walls could only talk." Since the show began Tuesday, Coffen said some rodeo regulars have stopped by to see the building for the last time. "It's like visiting an old friend," he said. Yet his trade show has outgrown this old friend. As motor homes became taller and wider over the years, it became increasingly difficult to maneuver them around the low ceilings and many beams inside the 750,000-square-foot hall. The building's three-wing design also tended to disorient visitors, he added. Reliant Center, the new 1.4 million-square-foot facility, will feature a rectangular layout with ceilings 35 feet high. "Traffic will flow a whole lot better," said Tony Wier, a sales manager for a luxury RV line. Longtime exhibitor Eddie Schauman is relieved the trade show now will be held before, not after, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Sometimes, they were "still shoveling the floor when we moved in," he said. "It's really just another chapter ending and a new one starting," said Jeffrey Gaines, an assistant general manager at Reliant Park. But native Houstonian Connie Sellers, visiting the trade show with family and friends, lamented the loss of the hall. Sellers said she would have preferred it be renovated "to keep the memories. As a kid, when this was built, we were really fascinated with it. Change is hard." Marlon Holbert, a five-year employee at the ticket office, clung to a different view. "It's progress."