A women’s locker room, an expanded kitchen in the Hyundai Club and additional cooling in a video production area received approval Thursday at a special meeting of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA).
The $1.3 million for the projects comes from the authority’s $5 million annual capital improvement fund. The Vikings and the state contribute about $1.5 million each to the fund annually.
Executive Director Rick Evans said he’s sifting through a list of more than 30 potential projects for the coming year that will consume most of the fund. Evans can approve projects under $250,000. These three projects exceeded that amount.
The $1.1 billion stadium opened one year ago Thursday with a soccer match and has subsequently played host to a Vikings season, the X Games and concerts from Guns N’ Roses to Metallica and Luke Bryan. Most of the changes to the building are relatively minor given its youth.
The most expensive project approved Thursday was the kitchen adjustments in the Hyundai Club on the north side of the building at a cost of $532,000. The changes will expand the kitchen and cut down on the equipment that must be moved around for events by concessionaire Aramark. “We think it’s a very wise investment,” Evans said.
The Hyundai Club is the largest club in the stadium at almost 20,000 square feet. The space between the 30-yard lines on the lower level can accommodate 1,000 guests. The space is often used for social events such as banquets and training sessions.
In the video production area, new cooling systems will cost $442,000. “The temperature in there has gotten extremely high and is frying that equipment,” Evans said.
Finally, the board agreed to build out empty space for a women’s locker room. The Vikings have female coaches and trainers who need the space, as does the one female referee in the NFL if she works a game at the stadium. “It’s probably overdue,” Evans said of the locker room.
The stadium currently has two main locker rooms: one for the Vikings and one for the visiting team. There are several smaller locker rooms, including spaces for coaches, cheerleaders and stadium staff.
The Vikings play for the first time at home this preseason on Aug. 27 against the San Francisco 49ers. The first regular-season home game is Sept. 11 against the New Orleans Saints.
Vikings executive vice president Lester Bagley said the aim was to get the projects completed for the season, but he couldn’t say how soon they would be done.
The special meeting was the first with new Chairman Mike Vekich and Evans. Three board members attended: Bill McCarthy, Laura Bishop and Barbara Butts Williams. Tony Sertich was not there.