MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Friday was another milestone day at the Metrodome. The iconic inflatable roof is about to come down, so demolition can proceed for the new Vikings stadium.
Stadium officials said Friday they’re planning the Dome deflation for Saturday, depending on weather conditions. They are also hyper-cautious about deflating the Dome.
“We really are not encouraging people to come down,” said Michele Kelm-Helgen, the chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), which oversees construction of the new Vikings stadium.
“We do think there are safety issues,” she said. “We do think there are issues with big crowds of people wandering around a construction area.”
Cameras, however, will be placed inside and around the Dome, so the deflation will not go unseen. People will be able to watch a minute-by-minute feed of the deflation.
What’s left of the Dome will be mostly gone on Saturday. The field turf is already torn up and rolled. Blue plastic seats lay in piles. The light standards are down.
And the iconic teflon roof is ready for deflation.
“It’s not going to be: one, two, three deflate,” said Kelm-Helgen, snapping her fingers.
When exactly the Dome comes down depends on weather conditions and wind speed, but it’ll probably happen Saturday morning.
Workers will shut off the electricity and open the doors, and the air supported teflon roof is expected to fall immediately.
Construction workers say it’s hard to predict how long it will take.
Once down, workers will tie down the fabric, and start cutting it into pieces — very large pieces.
Across the street from the Dome, Hubert’s Bar and Grill is planning a demolition party. Beer will be at 1982 prices, the year the Dome was built, and there’ll be free pieces of the old fabric roof with every burger.
Wes Bergstrom, a Dome demolition worker, said he’s nostalgic about the tear-down.
“I really like the place,” said Bergstrom, of Eden Prairie. “I can understand that they want something different, want something better. It’s getting outdated. But the new thing is going to be fantastic.”
Currently, the MSFA is involved in a law suit to stop tax dollars from going toward the stadium. Members say the lawsuit would stop millions in bond funds that they need to make key payments.
The board does not have a back-up plan if those behind the lawsuit win.