The Metrodome in Minneapolis

Elizabeth Flores, StarTribune

Public off the hook for Dome turf

  • Article by: KEVIN DUCHSCHERE
  • Star Tribune
  • August 19, 2011 - 1:30 AM

The Metrodome's new field turf, freshly installed and ready for the Vikings' first Dome home game since the roof fell in last year, won't cost the public a dime.

The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission gave a green light Thursday to an agreement that will have Birdair Inc., the company that installed the Dome's new roof, pay a third of the cost of the $477,000 turf. The commission's insurer, Affiliated FM, will pick up the rest.

The settlement still needs to be finalized, but stadium officials believe it's a done deal.

Commissioners decided to replace the old turf, installed only last year, because of water damage sustained after a December blizzard tore the stadium's fiberglass roof and exposed the field to snow and ice.

An analysis showed mold and fungus had invaded the surface, which could lead to respiratory problems for players. Efforts to clean the turf would have damaged its fibers.

Bill Lester, the commission's executive director, said Birdair assumed responsibility for protecting the old turf while repairing the roof. It was decided Birdair would cover a third of the cost because it was hard to estimate how much of the field's microbial contamination occurred before the roof collapsed.

The new $18 million roof was finished and inflated last month after four months of work supervised by New York-based Birdair, which also manufactured and installed the old roof. The total cost of the $22.7 million roof project was covered by insurance, save for a $25,000 deductible.

The new turf, a product called UBU S5-M, was installed by CG & B Enterprises Inc. of Otsego. It is 2 1/2 inches thick and covers about 120,000 square feet.

The commission will hold an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday to show off the Dome's new roof and turf. The event will include entertainment and tours of the 29-year-old facility, which the Vikings hope to replace with a new $1.1 billion stadium in Arden Hills.

The team, which played home games in Detroit and at TCF Bank Stadium after the roof collapsed, is in the last year of its 30-year Dome lease.

Kevin Duchschere • 612-673-4455

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