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Local Firm Sets Aggressive Schedule For Vikes Stadium

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(credit: CBS) Pat Kessler
Pat Kessler knows Minnesota politics. He's been on the beat long...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction is well-known nationally for its sports facilities. It built Target Field and TCF Bank Stadium. Mortenson won the bid with both an aggressive construction schedule and a hometown discount.

The four-year project will employ 7,500 workers, with 1,500 of those on-site – and all from Minnesota. John Wood of Mortenson says his firm is happy to provide local jobs.

“We‘re looking forward to giving so many people a chance to get back to work, in many cases, to build this great facility,” Wood said.

The hurry-up construction means it is very likely 2013 will be the Vikings’ last season in the Dome.

Stadium groundbreaking is this October. Dome demolition is slated for next January and February. The Vikes move to TCF Bank Stadium in 2014 and 2015. And the new stadium should be completed by July 2016.

Mortenson has hired the structural engineer who built the retractable roof at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It’s a giant leap from the Vikings’ domed home in Minneapolis. Lester Bagley, the Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs and Stadium Development, says the team is experimenting with different ideas.

“Whether it be a retractable window that opens out to the skyline to downtown Minneapolis, or an operable wall that opens to the plaza, or retractable roof – all three of those options, or some combination, are still in play,” Bagley said.

Mortenson will be paid $12.5 million for its work on the project. Bonuses could boost that to $15 million. But there are substantial penalties if the stadium is not completed on time. Mortenson could lose $5 million for every game not played in the new facility.

The retractable roof is an add-on to the stadium bill passed by the legislature. And if the Vikings want to add a retractable roof, wall or window – the team must pay for it themselves.

Cost is estimated at $25 to $50 million. A decision on the add-ons is expected within the next 90 days.

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