Metrodome Cranks The Heat To Deal With Roof’s Snow

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When the snow fell in mid-December, the Metrodome roof came down.

“It took exactly 60 seconds to go from fully inflated to fully deflated,” said Bill Lester, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.

When the snow fell this weekend, the Metrodome heat went up.

“Heat it to 80-85 degree range,” he said. “So, it melts the snow as it lands.”

It worked as planned. With the roof tied to 2,400-pound weights, the snow melted and drained. Inside the Metrodome’s operations center, technicians monitored the results, ready to send crews onto the roof to wash it down with hot water, but they never had to.

“It did everything it was supposed to,” said Lester. “It worked well. Of course, it worked well up until December 12, too. We had 28 years without any problems with the roof.”

The major difference is that on Dec. 12, high winds made it unsafe to send crews onto the roof. And then they tore a hole in it.

Still, they’ve always relied on the dials inside the operations center, and the hot air inside the dome – and a huge heating bill at the end of the month.

“Our heating bill dwarfs everybody’s heating bill,” he said. “We’re talking, during these intense weather times, a half-million dollars a month.”

That’s under normal circumstances. Right now, with holes in the roof, it’s even more, but that bill will go to the insurance companies.

“It’s all going to be a part of the claim that we’ll eventually make,” he said.


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