SBJ/April 14-20, 2014/Facilities

HKS putting its Final Four experience to work in Minneapolis

Don Muret
The same architect that the NCAA uses as a Final Four consultant is designing the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium, something that could give local officials an edge competing for the event over the next six years.

Dallas-based HKS developed the midfield setup for the men’s Final Four in stadiums, a layout dating to Ford Field in 2009, and it has been principally involved in the city of Minneapolis’ bid for the event.

In January, the NCAA announced Minneapolis was among eight finalists for Final Fours to be held in 2017 through 2020.

Winning bids will be announced in November after individual presentations are completed earlier in the fall.

Separately, the architect is helping city and state officials prepare their bid for the 2018 Super Bowl, said Bryan Trubey, a principal with HKS and director of the firm’s sports and entertainment practice.

HKS, which helped make AT&T Stadium Final Four-ready, is doing the same for the Vikings
Photo by: GETTY IMAGES

In the Twin Cities, where the old Metrodome played host to a Super Bowl and two Final Fours, HKS is designing the same flexibility to accommodate both events at the Vikings’ new facility.

HKS designed AT&T Stadium and Lucas Oil Stadium, two NFL facilities designed with the Super Bowl and Final Four in mind, Trubey said.

In Minneapolis, HKS has applied the same formulas to program the additional back-of-house space and premium amenities required for both events, but with design tweaks to improve upon Arlington and Indianapolis. Similar to the other two stadiums, the Vikings’ 31 field-level suites built along the south sideline and east end zone will not have a view to the court, but they should still be in demand for the NCAA’s corporate partners, Trubey said.

“There is a greater potential for premium down low, about the same as Cowboys,” he said.

AT&T Stadium, site of the 2014 Final Four, was filled with 79,444 fans for the Saturday semifinals, which set an attendance record for college basketball. The Vikings’ stadium, smaller than the Cowboys’, could reach 72,000 for Final Four, Trubey said.

“We add so much capacity when we do the seating in the lower bowl,” he said. “It’s always a different number in each venue, but we don’t go into the end zones and add seats like we do for Super Bowl. We do all the adds down where the premium seats are.”

> WAKE UP THE ECHOES: Kansas City-based Dimensional Innovations won the job to provide graphic design services for the $400 million expansion of Notre Dame Stadium.

The firm’s work over the next two years will focus on the theming of three new buildings tied to the Campus Crossroads Project, the school’s largest capital works venture. The project includes developing new and flexible spaces to meet the academic and social needs of students as well as the football program (SportsBusiness Journal, Feb. 3-9).

Dimensional Innovations has extensive college experience, including work done at football stadiums at Kansas State and Kentucky, Michigan’s Schembechler Hall and Marshall’s hall of fame, said Justin Wood, the firm’s vice president and sports practice director.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.


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