Getting into the new Minnesota Vikings stadium is likely to be even smoother with the addition of six new escalators to its entryway design.
That will bring the total of main-entry escalators at the Minnesota Multipurpose Stadium to 18. All told, the stadium — scheduled to open in 2016 on the site of the now-vanished Metrodome — will have 33 escalators.
Another addition: 1,180 more televisions, bringing the total to 2,000.
Ease of vertical circulation is critical to stadiums, Vikings Vice President Lester Bagley said Friday. Time and again, other teams around the league delivered that message; Bagley noted that Indianapolis said it wished it had installed more escalators in the Colts’ Lucas Oil Stadium.
Minneapolis’ bid for the 2018 Super Bowl, which focused heavily on the new stadium, recently won out over bids from Indianapolis and New Orleans.
“We’re going to have a building that we can move food, people, emergency equipment around in a quick manner,” said Ted Mondale, executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority.
The 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, which bumps the total project budget up to $977 million.
The increased cost covers only design — not the materials, the escalators and the televisions themselves.
The designers will decide what locations are best for the TVs so fans need never miss a Purple play. There is no decision yet on whether there will be TVs in the restrooms.
The authority also discussed potential changes to the stadium related to the 2018 Super Bowl — namely, adding more suites — but no decisions have been made. Authority Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said the Vikings will cover the costs of any Super Bowl-related stadium changes.
The authority also discussed changes required for an NCAA basketball Final Four tournament. The state is bidding for a 2019 or 2020 Final Four, and if it were to win the bid, Kelm-Helgen said the authority would pay for the necessary four locker rooms.
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 375-foot-high crane with a 670-foot reach will start rolling onto the site in pieces later this month from its current assignment in New Florence, Pa. Upon its assembly, the crane will be ready to pick up its first piece of steel July 31. The biggest piece to be hoisted: 600,000 pounds.
John Wood, Mortenson senior vice president, reported that 400 people are now working on the site daily. In total, 100,000 cubic yards of concrete will be poured; so far, workers have poured 17 percent of that, he said.
Wood said through the end of May, $89 million has gone into the site, 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.