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Good Question: Why Not Tear The Metrodome Roof Off?

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
Jason DeRusha filed his first report for WCCO-TV on April Fool's D...
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By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Vikings claim to want an open-air stadium. They’ve almost got one, now that several panels of the Metrodome roof have collapsed. 

“You know they want an outdoor stadium, just take the roof off,” said Julie Macdonald of Danbury.

Why not tear off the Metrodome roof?

“Well we’ve looked at that,” said Ted Mondale, chair of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.

“For $10 million you can take roof down and insulate so the pipes don’t freeze. And you’d have an outdoor stadium for $10 million,” he said.

In the days after the roof collapse, pipes started to burst in the Dome. All of those pipes would have to be insulated. The same is true with concession stands and bathrooms. But compared to the cost of a new stadium, it’s a bargain.

However, the Vikings wouldn’t get their new luxury boxes, restaurants and stores. That’s the revenue they want to be competitive with other NFL teams.

When the Vikings ask for an outdoor stadium, “I’m 100 percent sure they don’t mean the $10 million take the roof off and insulate the pipes here at the Metrodome option,” said Mondale.

In fact, tearing off the roof is a more expensive option for taxpayers than replacing the entire thing.

“A total redo: taking the roof off and putting a new one in, is estimated at $15 million. That would be paid for by insurance money,” said Mondale.

The insurance deductible is $25,000 and that would be the total taxpayer cost.

On the other hand, a roof tear-off would cost $10 million and insurance would only cover the cost of the loss of the use of the damaged roof, maybe $1 or $2 million, according to Mondale.

So taxpayers would have to come up with at least $8 million for an un-domed dome facility, useful for “10 Vikings games and that’s it. Then they would leave,” said Mondale.

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