New Vikings Stadium image
ST. PAUL, Minn. - Victory in the stadium debate brings euphoria for fans of the Minnesota Vikings. But eventually euphoria gives way to questions.
Now that the stadium bill has passed the legislature, is it a done deal?
Not quite. The Minneapolis City Council could still scuttle the stadium. The council has 30 days to give its approval or the deal dies. Mayor R.T. Rybak is confident the 7 to 6 pro-stadium majority will hold. He said the stadium bill gives the city of Minneapolis everything it asked for. "We're confident the council will deliver because we have delivered what has been asked, so we're very confident we'll get this signed quickly," said Rybak.
The stadium planning process won't wait for the city council vote. Within 30 days a five-person stadium authority will be appointed. Two of the members will be chosen by Rybak and three by Governor Mark Dayton. Commissioners will work with the Vikings to address all major decisions at the state-owned stadium.
When will construction begin?
Spring of 2013 is the target. Designers and architects must be hired and plans must be drawn and approved. All of that will take time. By building the southeast end of the new stadium first, the Vikings hope to play three more seasons in the Metrodome, before it must be torn down to make way for the final phase of construction.
Present plans call for the 2015 season to be played in TCF Bank Stadium. The Vikings hope that's the only season. "The Bank" is a fine college stadium, but is far from ideal for the Vikings. It wasn't built for use in the deep of winter and is small by NFL standards. "We have 53,000 season ticket-holders," said the Vikings' Lester Bagley, "they have less than 50,000 seats."
When will the first game be played in the new stadium?
If everything goes according to plan the new Vikings stadium will be ready for the 2016 season.
What will the new stadium look like?
Remember how Target Field evolved from the drawings used during that stadium debate? Expect the same. The drawings being shown on television are a starting point only.
State lawmakers wanted a closed-roof stadium that could be available for events year-round. The Vikings are still holding open the possibility of a retractable roof, possibly building in features that would allow a retractable roof to be added at a later date. Bagley says designers will be limited by the budget set by the legislature, so fixed roof may be the only option.
As for luxury amenities, "world class" is the phrase being thrown out at the Capitol - but not first class. Said Bagley, "Top of the line is probably Dallas. This is going to be more Midwestern, mid-market like Lucas Oil Field in Indianapolis. I think that stadium would fit well in this market."
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