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Metrodome's New $18M Roof Below Estimates So Far

There is still a lot of work that needs to be done at the Metrodome in Minneapolis-including determining whether the turf needs to be replaced-before a planned open house on August 20.

Seven months after the roof on the Metrodome collapsed, the sports venue and home of the Minnesota Vikings finally has a new roof.

Bill Lester-executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC), which owns the Metrodome-confirmed that the roof inflated in less than an hour on Wednesday, must faster than the two- to three-hour timeframe that officials expected.

According to Lester, the roof cost $18 million and the whole project, which was covered by insurance, cost $22.7 million. The MSFC estimated in January that the project could cost up to $25 million, so the project is now below initial estimates. But Lester stressed that unforeseen work could surface later on, which would add to the overall cost of the project.

The MSFC incurred costs of about $525,000-a $25,000 deductible and $500,000 for legal fees associated with drafting contracts for the work on the roof, Lester said, adding that the legal fee figure is a preliminary estimate.

There is still a lot of work to be done at the Metrodome before the MSFC's open house on August 20, which will be followed by the Vikings first preseason game on August 27. Steve Maki, director of facilities and engineering at the Metrodome, said that the project is still on track to meet its August 1 deadline, which was set in January.

The commission will determine within the next week whether the turf at the Metrodome needs to be replaced-which could cost between $400,000 and $600,000 based on the amount that it cost to replace the turf about a year ago, Lester said. The figure could exceed that range if the process needs to be sped up, Lester said.

Lester said that the commission also needs to get a certificate of occupancy before the open house. He noted that the certificate will come from the City of Minneapolis, not the state, so the government shutdown will not slow down the process.

The new roof comes with some new features, Lester said, including acoustic panels in the middle of the roof where there is only one layer of fabric instead of two.

"Fans might notice an improvement in acoustic quality," Lester said.

The Metrodome is also brighter inside and the roof is flatter than it was before because it is made out of a different fabric, Lester said. The flatness will help with high winds.

According to the MSFC, the Metrodome is the only public stadium in the country that does not rely on a continuous tax subsidy. A revenue bonding package was developed to finance the stadium, which opened in 1982. The bonding package was authorized by the state legislature, issued by the Metropolitan Council, and paid off by revenues from stadium operations. About 73 million people have visited the stadium since it opened.

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