Dome roof will rise again in July

Installation of the new panels is on track for the stadium to be hosting events by Aug. 12.

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The workers replacing the collapsed roof at the Metrodome are putting in 10-hour days Monday through Saturday. It’s a dangerous job. Safety briefings are held every day for workers. No one has fallen yet.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

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With the re-roofing job on track, the Metrodome's operators anticipate that the storm-damaged stadium will be ready to host events again by Aug. 12, officials said Wednesday.

"This is optimistic and our best bet right now," said Bill Lester, executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission.

Among the first events: an open house to celebrate the Dome's new $18 million fiberglass roof, now being installed by a 50-person work crew.

The commission met in committee Wednesday for an update on the roof repair schedule and to discuss possible events before the first Vikings' home game on Aug. 27.

INFLATING THE ROOF

Dome engineer Steve Maki said that Birdair Inc., the contractor overseeing the roof work, expects to inflate the new roof the last week of July so that the job is substantially complete by the target date of Aug. 1.

It will take two to four hours to fully inflate the roof, he said.

Meanwhile, souvenir pieces of the old roof are being snapped up by fans during Dome tours. People in 17 states have sent requests for the fabric keepsakes.

GROOMING THE TURF

The city of Minneapolis will need a few days to inspect the project for the necessary certificate of occupancy. Maki said that Dome workers also will need a few days to groom the playing field, now a construction site covered with three layers of plywood.

One thing the Sportexe turf won't need: watering.

OPEN HOUSE

Talks are underway to schedule events at the Dome this fall, said events manager Bobbi Ellenberg. A monster truck jam already is set for December.

Plans are underway for an Aug. 20 open house to mark the Dome's reopening. Several activities and events are being considered, many including regular Dome users.

"It's a celebration. ... When you get knocked down, you get back up," Lester said.

The roof collapsed Dec. 12 in the aftermath of a blizzard. Replacement work began in late March.

Kevin Duchschere • 612-673-4455

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