Six more escalators will be added to the entryway of the new Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium that is replacing the dearly departed Metrodome.
That will bring the total to 18 escalators in the stadium's main entry point. All told the stadium, on-schedule to open for the 2016 Minnesota Vikings season, will have 33 escalators.
Ease of vertical circulation is critical to stadiums, Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said. Time and again, other teams around the league delivered that message. Notably, Bagley said Indianapolis wished it had installed more escalators.
MSFA executive director Ted Mondale said, "We're going to have a building that we can move food, people, emergency equipment around in a quick manner."
Another addition: 1,180 more televisions, bringing the total to 2,000.
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority approved changes to the stadium budget for design consulting issues related to the new items. The Vikings say they're paying the increased cost of $1.3 million. That increases the total project budget to $977 million.
The increased cost covers only design - not the materials, the escalators and televisions themselves. The designers will decide where best to locate the TVs so fans are never miss a Purple play. No decision yet on whether there will be TVs in the restrooms.
The MSFA also discussed potential changes to the stadium related to the 2018 Super Bowl. The discussion is about potentially adding more suites, but no decisions have been made. Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said the Vikings will cover the costs.
Changes will also be required for an NCAA basketball Final Four. Kelm-Helgen said four locker rooms rather than two will be needed. The MSFA would pay for those changes.The state is bidding for a 2019 or 2020 Final Four - college basketball's denouement of March Madness.
In other action, M.A. Mortenson Co. provided an update on construction, previewing the arrival of the star attraction of the project: the biggest, tallest crane.
The crane starts rolling onto the site in pieces later this month. It takes 65 truckloads to haul. Assembly is required. The crane will be ready to pick up its first piece of steel on July 31. The biggest piece to be hoisted: 600,000 pounds.
Mortenson senior vice president John Wood reported that 400 people are now working on the site daily. In total, 100,000 cubic yards of concrete will be poured. So far, they've poured 17 percent of that, he said.
Wood said that through the end of May, $89 million worth of work has gone into the site in six months even though much of it has been in the hole and not visible to the public. Typically, that amount of work takes two years, he said.