Many interesting tidbits came out of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority meeting on Friday.
Among them: Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen received a $25,000 raise, increasing her salary to $127,000. Members of the authority voted unanimously on the move, saying Kelm-Helgen has more than earned the pay increase.
In addition, Allen Troshinsky, director of operations for stadium general contractor Mortenson Construction, said to date, roughly 160,000 cubic yards of dirt have been removed from the eastern side of the Metrodome site. All told, about 850,000 cubic yards of dirt will be removed from the site.
Troshinsky said the polar vortex hasn't slowed construction -- so far seven out of 330 piers for the foundation have been drilled. And the first of five cranes will be erected next week. Once the Dome is deflated, the true demolition of the building will begin.
Just 75 people have been on-site, so far, but that number will swell to about 300 in the next several months, he said.
All told, $400 million of the work has been awarded out of the $763 million construction project. Of the $400 million, $100 million came from minority or women-owned businesses, he said, noting the stadium is indeed on schedule.
Trying to figure out when, exactly, the Metrodome's roof will be deflated is a bit like attempting to find Edward Snowden's whereabouts.
It's an elusive thing.
The deflation of the fabric roof is tentatively scheduled for Saturday. The fans in the Dome that inflate the roof will be disabled, causing the roof to deflate. It could take 20- to 40 minutes.
But Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, said Friday the timing is "unclear" due to many factors. The MSFA doesn't want throngs of people descending upon the construction site because there are potential safety issues. That's partly why a Saturday was chosen for the deflation, since there won't be as many people downtown on a weekend.
The deflation will be called off entirely if winds surpass the 5 mph on Saturday. Currently the National Weather Service is predicting a snowstorm beginning this evening, with winds out of the north at 10 mph.
Should the deflation occur, the event will be available for viewing from cameras inside and outside the Dome on www.vikings.com.
UPDATE: Associate Justice Alan Page "took no part in the consideration or decision" of a pending case involving stadium funding, according to a Supreme Court order issued Tuesday.
Anti-stadium gadfly Will Shapira suggested Tuesday that Alan Page, an associate justice for the Minnesota Supreme Court and former Minnesota Viking, recuse himself from a court case involving the $1 billion Vikings stadium.
Before Page was named to the state's highest court in 1993, he played for the Vikings from 1967 to 1978, and was part of the team's famed defensive line, the Purple People Eaters. A Hall of Famer, he finished his NFL career with the Chicago Bears. (He's No. 88 above.)
Late last week, three Minneapolis residents filed a writ with the Supreme Court challenging the state's $468 bond sale that will help fund the stadium, which is slated to open by the 2016 NFL season. The state called off the sale until the legal matter is ironed out.
In an email to Twin Cities media, state officials and politicos, Shapira argues Page has a conflict of interest because of his previous ties to the Vikings.
A hearing on the matter has not been scheduled. Court spokesman John Kostouros said the recusal issue is essentially a non-issue at this time because "the Court hasn't done anything yet."
If you want a bit of Metrodome history that you can sit on, the stadium's seats are now for sale.
Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, said an agreement will be signed with a Fridley firm today to begin removal of the Dome's bright blue seats.
About 20,000 of the 60,000 seats in the aging stadium will be removed by Albrecht Sign Co., which also did work on Target Field. The company will sell seats in sets of three to six to the public for $60 a seat.
Non-profit groups and community organizations will be charged $40 a seat.
Anyone requesting a specific seat will be charged $80 a seat.
The seats will be removed by Jan. 18, when the power will be turned off at the Dome, and its roof deflated. A new $1 billion Vikings stadium is slated to open on the site of the Dome in the summer of 2016.
A Fridley firm is ready to remove and sell many of those blue seats at the Metrodome, as the sports stadium nears its final days.
Albrecht Sign Co., a family- and minority-owned firm, is one of five bidders for the job, but the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the public body in charge of the new $1 billion stadium's construction, says no contract has been signed yet.
However, the MSFA's request for proposals (also known as an RFP) states that the selection of the firm to remove the seats is Dec. 23. Proposals were due at 1 p.m. on Dec. 20.
Removal of the "riser mounted chairs in the seating bowl" -- as the RFP puts it -- calls for about 64,000 seats to be removed from 8 a.m. Dec. 30 to noon Jan. 17, 2014. The heat in the Dome will be turned off beginning Jan. 15.
The price of the seats is not to exceed $50 each for designated public organizations and charities interested in buying them. But the price could be higher for anyone else.
Since talk of the Dome's imminent closure and roof deflation (set for Jan. 18) surfaced, many folks have wondered about buying seats.
Details will be forthcoming, once the contract is signed with a vendor to remove the seats. The Vikings' final home game is this Sunday, against the Detroit Lions.