SBD/February 11, 2011/Facilities

Stadium Commission Votes To Put New $18.3M Roof On Metrodome

MSFC opts to renovate Metrodome's roof prior to Vikings' '11 season at the stadium
The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission Thursday voted to put a "new $18.3 million roof" on the Metrodome for the Vikings' last scheduled season there, "even though it's not entirely certain it can be ready in time for the team's August preseason schedule," according to Kevin Duchschere of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. MSFC officials "estimated that the total price tag for the project" probably will be $19M, though they "expressed confidence that the entire sum, save for a $25,000 deductible, will be handled by insurance." The goal is "completion of the new roof by Aug. 1, only two weeks before the NFL begins its preseason schedule." While the Vikings said that they supported the MSFC's plan "to replace the stadium's 30-year-old storm-tossed roof, they reiterated that they don't see it as a long-term stadium solution." The Vikings' Metrodome lease expires after the '11 season, and VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said, "Nothing's changed in terms of the challenges of (the Dome) in terms of fan amenities and revenues for the team" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/11). Bagley added a new roof is "not a long-term solution." Bagley: "It's still not a long-term, viable NFL facility." MSFC Chair Ted Mondale noted that the Vikings are under contract to play the '11 season at the Metrodome, "and therefore not fixing the roof was never an option" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/11). ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert wrote the "ideal scenario would have been to shutter the building entirely and begin construction on a replacement immediately." Seifert: "A plan to spend $18 million to repair a 29-year-old building has its faults, even if insurance covers most of the cost" (ESPN.com, 2/10).

ARDENT PURSUIT: In St. Paul, Dave Orrick reports in what Vikings Owners Zygi and Mark Wilf are "calling 'an extremely important step,'" the Ramsey County (Minn.) Board of Commissioners is "poised to vote next week on a resolution expressing its intent to officially court the NFL franchise for a proposed stadium in Arden Hills." Commissioners Thursday, "armed with a laudatory letter" from the Wilfs, "made public a draft resolution -- to be voted on Tuesday -- authorizing county staff to negotiate with the team about a stadium at the abandoned and polluted Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant near Interstate 35W and U.S. 10." Bagley said, "We're really down to the wire in terms of we need to have a site and local partner, and Ramsey County has stepped up." Orrick notes Ramsey County Commissioners "had been hoping to have an exclusive relationship with the Vikings, who are considering or have considered at least four Twin Cities sites, but the Wilfs stopped short of that" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 2/11). In Minneapolis, Rochelle Olson reports the resolution is "expected to pass easily." Bagley said that the Vikings are "interested in the Arden Hills site, 10 miles north of the Metrodome," and that approval of the resolution "means going ahead to determine whether the site is truly viable" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 2/11).
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