Plans to reuse the Dome’s seats could be too hard on bottom line

  • Article by: ABBY SIMONS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 5, 2013 - 9:53 PM

Getting them out intact is costly work, legislators are told.

hide

Removing blue plastic chairs intact from the Metrodome could cost $48 per seat.

Photo: BRIAN PETERSON • Star Tribune file, 2002,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

 

Ground is broken, the budget stars have aligned, and the disassembly and demolition will soon commence at the Metrodome to make room for the new Vikings stadium.

Now for the 64,000-seat question: What to do with those blue plastic folding bleacher chairs that, along with the rears planted in them, were witness to more than three decades of Minnesota sports history?

About 70 schools, colleges and nonprofits would like them, preferably in 200- to 300-seat chunks — not so much for their souvenir value, but because new bleacher seats can set an organization back $150 apiece.

But prying apart thousands of chairs and handing them intact to deserving organizations would be neither simple nor cheap, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen told legislators Thursday.

“It’s going to be a fairly major challenge,” Kelm-Helgen said at a hearing for the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Sports Facilities on Thursday. “Obviously we want to be a resource for those schools and community groups, but here’s the issue we’re confronted with: We need to be very clear what it is they’re getting.”

Dome demolition is expected to begin right after the Vikings’ final home game Dec. 29, to make way for construction of a $975 million replacement that is scheduled to open for the 2016 NFL season. In the meantime, contractors are planning to empty the Dome of its contents — including the seats.

But disposing of those seats is posing a conundrum for stadium officials. Some seats will be auctioned, but how many remains uncertain as officials calculate how to remove and separate them cheaply.

“It’s become a stumbling block for us for us to figure out what the cost is going to be and what people can reasonably pay,” Kelm-Helgen said.

Most individuals who contacted the authority have asked for seats or dirt, including the River Falls (Wis.) Baseball Council, which is requesting “exactly 293 seats” for a townball-style ballpark under construction.

That’s not so easy. Dome seats are bolted directly onto concrete slabs, with no base, Kelm Helgen said. They come in long rows, making removal and separation expensive. Mortenson Construction, which is overseeing the stadium project, puts chair removal costs at $48 per seat. At that rate, the tab for the 20,000 seats requested by nonprofits could top $960,000.

“Our authority can’t absorb a million-dollar cost to remove chairs,” Kelm-Helgen said. She said it’s doubtful whether most nonprofits could afford even the $48 for used seats.

Commission co-chair Sen. Bobby Joe Champion, DFL-Minneapolis, asked whether interested groups could remove the chairs themselves. Kelm-Helgen said that’s unlikely because of insurance and liability issues, union rules and the difficulty in separating them.

Removal is “not just unbolting a few things,” she said. “It’s a very significant process.”

Champion said he hopes a cost-effective solution can be achieved. “We wouldn’t want to foresee all those wonderful chairs that have great memories just go to waste and end up in some landfill.” he said.

Kelm-Helgen’s meeting with legislators was the first since Tuesday’s groundbreaking. In the meantime, work will begin in earnest on the new stadium in February. In July, a huge tower crane — one of only three in the world, Kelm-Helgen said, will arrive in 100 truckloads, be assembled on site, then hoist the steel that will form the framework of the stadium.

The project got on track after the Vikings fronted an extra $41 million late last month to retain features originally desired for the stadium. Kelm-Helgen told legislators that the team may be able to recoup some of that from the construction contingency budget of $30 million, but that contingency fund also may be used to restore previously eliminated items, such as an additional escalator and freight elevator.

Vikings Vice President of Public Affairs Lester Bagley said the organization anticipates that the money will be spent on the project itself.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati - LP: M. Latos 4 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 5
Boston - WP: J. Kelly 9 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: S. Greene 4
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 4 FINAL
Cleveland - LP: C. Allen 2
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 8 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Penny 6
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 0
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Hellickson 2
Milwaukee - LP: Y. Gallardo 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: J. Arrieta 7
LA Angels - LP: C. Wilson 3 FINAL
Houston - WP: B. Peacock 8
Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb 6 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: L. Oliveros 3
Texas - LP: M. Kirkman 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 2
Pittsburgh - LP: J. Locke 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 6
San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos 12 FINAL
Colorado - LP: M. Belisle 7
Seattle - WP: J. Paxton 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 5
Washington - LP: D. Fister 1 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: C. Kershaw 4
Arizona - LP: B. Ziegler 1 FINAL
San Diego - WP: K. Quackenbush 2
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Toronto 12 FINAL
Hamilton 13
Edmonton 13 FINAL
Calgary 28
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 78 FINAL
Phoenix 96
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
Nov 2 - vs. Washington Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Vikings win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close