Estimates for bird-proof glass flies too high

The estimates on cost and the timeline for bird-proof glass in the Vikings’ new stadium arrived and they aren’t feasible.

If there is going to be the bird genocide that environmentalists are predicting for the glass façade of the new Vikings stadium, it effectively became a moot point Friday when estimates emerged on how much it would cost for the north face of the Vikings’ new yet-to-be named-after-a-bank stadium to be armed with bird-proof glass.

If the new stadium isn’t going to include potential fowl ball in the fall, it’s going to be a numbers game.

That number is $60 million in a high-end scenario.

In an interview on Minnesota Public Radio Friday, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said that the cost of bird-proofing the glass at the new digs would be in the neighborhood of $25-60 million … and potentially higher.

In business terms, that’s what is known as a “non-starter.”

Along with the increase in cost would be the increase in time.

Kelm-Helgen said that the delay that could result in the glass change could be as much as six months.

That timeline doesn’t fit either.

Whether it’s viewed as political bluster or a legitimate “late to the party” type of objection to the Vikings stadium, the current cost of providing a bird-safe environment simply doesn’t work.

However, if we believe in the can-do spirit of Minnesota’s best and brightest coming up with a solution to a problem, there is still hope for the avian apocalyptic types to sleep at night.

We have reached levels of technology that, if given 18 months to solve a problem, we find a way. We brought Apollo 13 back with as much prayer as expertise. Whether birds stack up like cordwood at the ground level at the new stadium actually materializes is speculation. One way or the other, we’re going to find out – for better or worse.

There is no way the Wilfs or the governmental bodies are going to kick in that kind of money for bird-safe glass. The state is micromanaging at this point, so they’re out. The Audubon Society can raise that kind of money to foot the cost.

The cost of making a significant change to a construction project is always a dicey proposition. The argument of bird safety has been waged from differing perspectives. One sees it from a humanitarian view. The other is from dollars and cents view – with dollars being exponentially more critical than cents.

Now that it’s clear that the glass being placed in the building is going in as was planned, the question should turn to what filament can be put on the glass to make it bird safe.

That’s sounds like a job for 3M. Considering what the first “M” in 3M is, perhaps that should be their mission – create the packing tape for the new stadium. At cost.

We aren’t going to know what happens to our feathered friends until they either avoid the new Vikings stadium or go beak-first into the glass, but, as things stand now, the glass proposed to go in is going in.

What do we do now?

We have more than a year to figure that out.


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