The University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium will undergo $6.6 million in renovations to meet the needs of the Minnesota Vikings, under a plan presented this week to the Board of Regents.
The changes — including a new heating system for the playing field — will be billed to the Vikings, who will play the next two seasons at the U while the team's own new stadium is being built on the site of the Metrodome.
The Vikings' spokesman, Jeff Anderson, said Wednesday that the money will come from the $975 million Vikings stadium budget, which is funded by public and private dollars.
The changes are needed to adapt the Gophers' stadium, which was designed for the fall college football season, to operate into December and "possibly" January, and meet the requirements of the National Football League, according to the university. Parts of the 50,805-seat stadium, which opened in 2009, will have to be winterized to protect systems from freezing and damage, officials say.
The plan calls for the installation of a "field heating system," as well as replacing artificial turf and adding camera platforms, storage space and temporary bleachers for 1,750 fans.
Part of stadium budget
In May, the university agreed to make the upgrades as part of its lease agreement with the Vikings, which will pay up to $3 million a year to play at TCF Bank Stadium.
At the time, the two organizations issued a news release, saying that "the Vikings will reimburse the university for any required TCF Bank Stadium capital improvements."
However, the costs of relocating the team to its temporary home and the TCF upgrades were built into the original budget for the new Vikings stadium, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chairwoman of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Authority. The budget allotted $16 million for improvements and operating costs at TCF Stadium.
Last year, the regents authorized $3.5 million in stadium upgrades, plus an undetermined amount for the new heating system.
The final plan, which puts the total price tag at $6,641,000, is expected to be approved by the regents on Friday. The construction is slated to begin this month and finish by July. The contractor, Mortenson Construction of Golden Valley, is the same firm that built TCF Stadium and is building the new Vikings stadium on the site of the Metrodome.