It’s official: The New York company that designed and installed the Metrodome roof 30 years ago was approved Friday to put the new one on this summer.
The price tag for the entire project: up to $25 million.
The bid by Birdair, Inc., was approved Friday by the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission. It was the only company to submit a bid.
While the roof replacement itself is estimated at $18.3 million to $19 million, the higher cost estimate reflects related ancillary costs.
Those costs include work done this winter to analyze the roof’s strength, prep work to stabilize the structure, and assorted engineers and consultants for the job.
The new roof also will have suspended batting in the center to improve acoustics.
One of the top criteria in the bidding process was the contractor’s ability to finish the work and make the Dome ready for football by Aug. 1, in time for NFL preseason games.
“Under the best of circumstances it will be a race to the finish line, and time is not our friend,” said Commissioner Paul Thatcher, who chaired the commission’s Finance Committee meeting Thursday.
Birdair inspected the Dome roof last summer and found it in generally good condition, despite signs of wear and tear.
But then five of the roof’s 106 fiberglass panels ripped open in December, four of them in a blizzard and a fifth by a shotgun slug that was later fired to relieve pressure from snow and ice.
Birdaid was one of a handful of firms that inspected and analyzed damage to the roof following the storm.
Lester said he wasn’t surprised that more bids weren’t received.
When the process began, the commission identified three firms, including Birdair, thought up for the job. Stadiums with air-supported fiberglass roofs are no longer built.
“This is highly specialized work,” he said.
The commission two weeks ago unanimously approved a new roof.
Engineers recommended full replacement rather than repair, saying the roof was irreparably damaged by the blizzard and subsequent exposure to severe weather.
Officials have said they believe that all costs, save for a $25,000 deductible, will be handled by insurance. But they are still waiting to hear from their insurance carrier, FM Global, on the extent and the timing of insurance payments.
Search for project manager
At its meeting Thursday, the Finance Committee recommended that the board remove its minimum of $6 million in reserves to improve cash flow for the roof project.
Depending on when the insurance claim is paid, some gap financing also may be necessary.
Officials also discussed hiring someone to oversee the work and ensure that it is done on time. One name discussed was Ed Hunter, project manager of the Interchange transit hub project at Target Field. Hunter was project manager of the Hiawatha light-rail line for the Met Council, and supervised construction of the new ballpark for Hennepin County.
Hunter said Thursday that no one has talked to him about the roof project.
Also Thursday, the committee recommended a salary of $64,688 for new chairman Ted Mondale. The salary is the same as that paid to Mondale’s predecessor, Roy Terwilliger.

Kevin Duchschere • 612-673-4455