Commission gives the OK to rip up Metrodome turf

  • Article by: TOM MEERSMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 22, 2011 - 6:48 AM

Three bids for new turf at the Metrodome ranged from $476,000 to 784,000.

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First the ceiling, now the floor. The artificial turf at the Metrodome, like the dome itself, will get a re-do. The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission voted unanimously Thursday to replace the one-year-old turf and approved a bid for $476,984.

HOW DID IT GO BAD?

The turf suffered too much water damage in the months after the roof collapsed last Dec. 12. It was covered with plywood as the dome was replaced, but some areas were wet and soggy for weeks at a time.

"We have some biological agents within the turf," said Steve Maki, the Dome's chief engineer.

A July 8 report indicated mold and fungus were in the playing surface material. It concluded that attempts to remove and clean problem areas would damage the turf fiber.

An independent consultant confirmed those findings this week, saying that leaving the turf in place "would expose field users to a risk that could cause respiratory issues."

RIP-UP SET NEXT WEEK

The turf is 2 1/2 inches thick and covers about 120,000 square feet, Maki said.

Removal starts next week. He said he didn't know where it will be disposed.

PUBLIC ON THE HOOK?

Bill Lester, the commission's executive director, said he has submitted an insurance claim but has not received a response. Said Maki, "We expect this will be covered by insurance."

SIXTH TIME THE CHARM?

For masters of Metrodome trivia, this will be the sixth time that the turf has been replaced in the 29-year-old stadium.

Superturf was the first ground cover in 1982, followed by AstroTurf in 1987, a better-custioned AstroTurf in 1995, FieldTurf in 2004 and Sportexe in 2010. The new material is called UBU S5-M.

READY FOR FOOTBALL?

The winning bidder for the turf job is CG & B Enterprises, Inc. of Otsego. The contract requires installation by Aug. 18, two days before a public open house, and one week before a preseason game between the Vikings and the Dallas Cowboys.

Vikings spokesman Lester Bagley said the team approves of the new turf, which is used at the Superdome in New Orleans, the Pittsburgh Steelers' practice field, several college stadiums and other facilities. "We are looking forward to the new turf under the new roof," Bagley said.

Tom Meersman • 612-673-7388

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