Vikings stadium: Monthly milestones

The new Vikings stadium is coming together with monthly milestones being reached and on the horizon.

As the U.S. Bank sign was raised to the top of the wall outside the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium, team executives, executives from the Minnesota Sport Facilities Authority and Mortenson construction officials presented a tour of the stadium that is now 65 percent complete and scheduled to open in one year.

With more than 1,200 workers on site daily, the progress is evident at nearly every turn.

The translucent ethylene-tetra-fluoro-ethylene (ETFE) roof being installed on the north side of the building is progressing at a rate of one or two panels a day, each panel representing a roll of the material that is three layers thick with venting between each layer. The first section of that roof is schedule for completion at the end of August. The peak of the roof will stand 313 feet above field level.

But nearly every month along the way will present a milestone, either the start of another phase or wrapping up an earlier phase. Next month, seating will be installed. The five revolving doors, each standing 95 feet tall and 50 feet wide that along with the ETFE roof will be architectural hallmarks of the stadium, will be operable in October. In November, the ETFE roof that is more translucent than glass, should be complete. In December, the technology, including two massive scoreboards on east and west sides of the stadium, will start being implemented. In April, the locker rooms should be complete and in May the playing surface will be installed.

In all, the stadium that will cost nearly $1.1 billion will dwarf the size of the old Metrodome that stood on its footprint as recently as the 2013 NFL season. With $1.5 million a day being spent on the construction project, U.S. Bank Stadium will host the Super Bowl in 2018 and the NCAA Final Four in 2019. It is also a finalist for the NCAA National Championship Game, with a decision coming in October after event organizers visit the stadium in August.

“To be a mere 12 months from opening what will be one of the world’s most architecturally-unique stadiums is incredibly exciting,” Vikings Owner/President Mark Wilf said in a statement. “With the significant surrounding economic development, the involvement of thousands of Minnesota workers and hundreds of Minnesota companies, and the securing of major events, U.S. Bank Stadium is setting the bar for public-private partnerships.”

While several cranes remain on site to assist in the installation of several facets of the construction, the largest one has finished its work and is being dismantled. It will be shipped out by the end of July after being on site for more than a year.

“This iconic stadium has already attracted nearly $1 billion in private investment, which was one of the state’s major goals for the stadium,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the MSFA. “The new U.S. Bank Stadium is owned by the state of Minnesota, is home to the Minnesota Vikings and will also host a wide range of events. From high school football and soccer, to college and amateur baseball, monster trucks and concerts, U.S. Bank Stadium will be used 365 days a year.”

Officials touted the investment inside and surrounding the stadium. Nearly $1 billion in investment is happening outside the stadium, with a new Wells Fargo headquarters costing about $400 million.

“It’s no longer speculation as to whether this stadium is going to have economic impact on the area. You’re already seeing it’s happening,” Kelm-Helgen said.

The Armory a couple blocks away is being renovated and, along with hotels and parking, is part of the revitalization of the area.

To date, more than 40,000 of the 49,000 season tickets and suites have been sold, and the suites will contribute to the high-end look of the 1.8 million square-foot stadium that will hold 65,000 for Vikings games.

Club Purple, with lounge-style seating, will occupy 14,000 square feet and hold nearly 1,100 people. The Vahalla Club will be able to host weddings and other parties when Vikings games aren’t in session, and the Viking Club, at nearly 30,000 square feet “will probably be our most rentable” area for outside events, Kelm-Helgen said.

The structure, like the overall project, is massive on the edge of downtown Minneapolis, and in just one year it will open for business and usher in a new era of Vikings football.

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