A Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority official on Friday said that the "long-awaited groundbreaking for the $975 million Vikings stadium is tentatively set for October 2013," according to Richard Meryhew of the Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE. That timetable is the "most specific to date" for the start of the project. It also is "a bit later than the target date mentioned earlier this year by authority and team officials, who initially projected groundbreaking to take place sometime during the third quarter of 2013." The groundbreaking date was announced as the MSFA "began soliciting bids for what will be its most important hire: a construction management firm, which will be responsible for building the 65,000-seat stadium." The firm will "establish the budget for what can be designed and built and will lay out a construction timeline." It also will be "asked to provide a guaranteed maximum price for construction." Vikings VP/Public Affairs & Stadium Development Lester Bagley said that the groundbreaking date "could change based on what the construction manager decides." Meryhew noted in soliciting bids for the construction management work, the MSFA "set a 'target' cost of $690 million for building the stadium," which does not include costs for "land acquisition, parking and skyway features or furniture and fixtures." MSFA Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said that the "rest of the $975 million will be spent on 'soft' costs, or sums paid for design, legal or consulting fees" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/8).
SNOW DAY: In St. Paul, John Shipley writes the "heavy snow falling outside the Metrodome" during yesterday's Bears-Vikings game "raised a question about whether the weather, any weather, will play a role in games in the team's new stadium." Bagley said, "I think we would really like to see a retractable roof, but it depends on the cost. ... When the construction manager starts, then we can start to price out, 'What does it cost for a wall or a window or a roof?'" Bagley said that whatever the answer, it "must fall within the $975 million budget" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 12/9). The AP noted yesterday's game was "almost two years to the day since 17 inches of snow in 24 hours" tore holes in the Metrodome roof. MSFA Dir of Facilities & Engineering Steve Maki said that Metrodome officials "cranked up the heat" after yesterday's game and will "keep it that way until the storm passes." Maki said that "everything is going well so far" (AP, 12/9).