The first sheets of glass are on-site and ready to go up on the Minnesota Vikings stadium.
On Wednesday, crews were installing the aluminum framework that will house the glass, making way for the first panes to go up next week.
Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said she could see the glass panes from her window ready for installation.
Eventually, the project will be a $1 billion soaring glass structure. The bolting on of the glass is yet another sign of the swift progression on the building funded by the Vikings, state and city taxpayers.
Each glass sheet is 5 feet by 9 feet and some 10,000 sheets will form the exterior skin of the stadium. The glass began rolling off the manufacturing lines at Viracon's Owatonna facility last month.
A 30-person crew from Plymouth-based InterClad will bolt the glass onto the stadium. The first panes will be put up on the 11th Avenue side of the stadium.
The glass will be transparent, not the bird-safe etched product that waterfowl advocates sought. Maplewood-based 3M is still researching a transparent film that might be applied to the glass after construction, Kelm-Helgen said Wednesday.
Bird protesters have regularly attended meetings of the MSFA to plead for bird-safe glass on the building. The advocates say the building could become a death-trap during the migration season.
But the MSFA and Vikings say the stadium's design aims to be transparent and provide an outdoor-feel in the enclosed space.The structure is expected to be fully enclosed by November and is set to open in July 2016.
Viracon, whose parent company is Bloomington-based Apogee Enterprises Inc., made the glass used on One World Trade Center. The company built its reputation on the mirrored, colored and energy-efficient glass covering skyscrapers, the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium and the San Francisco 49ers’ stadium.
The new Vikings stadium will have seven interior levels and two full-circle concourses with views of the field.
The site will play host to the 2018 Super Bowl. The next MSFA meeting is set for March 27.