The Dome has fallen, and it might not get back up

20101212_collapsed-metrodome4.jpgIncoming Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission chair Ted Mondale acknowledged for the first time today that the Metrodome might not be ready even for the Vikings season later this year.

At his first official meeting of the commisson this morning, he said an engineering study of the damage done by the roof’s collapse could require the replacement of the entire roof — a process that could take six months. The study is still underway.

The Vikings’ schedule isn’t finalized until April, but the lengthy consideration of the roof project means a roof job could theoretically run into August, when the Vikes typically open their home exhibition season in the Dome.

Asked whether it was practical to re-roof the stadium, even as the Legislature debates its replacement, Mondale said insurance is likely to cover all but about $25,000 of the repairs. In short, they’re getting a mulligan. Previous estimates of a roof job have run upwards of $15 million.

Interestingly, the commission this morning also approved a project to reconfigure the acoustic liner under the center of the roof. Facilties manager Steve Maki said a sheet under the center section of the outer shell will be replaced with vertical baffles — intended to better conduct heat up onto the roof, melt more snow and prevent another collapse.

All of that is pointing to some life for the Metrodome after the Vikings’ contract to play there expires next season — even though the MSFC commission itself once proposed tearing the thing down as soon as 2012 to build Metrodome Next.

Mondale said he was meeting with lawmakers starting this afternoon to talk about a stadium bill for the Vikings. He offered no new details.

Team vice president Lester Bagley watched today’s meeting from the second row of seats, but didn’t have much to say beyond “Ted Mondale is an excellent choice” for MSFC commission chair and “We’ll see” regarding the team’s home field.

Mondale said Gov. Mark Dayton “isn’t interested in an approach like last session,” when the stadium bill got perfunctory hearings in the waning days of the 86th Legislature. “The governor is saying very clearly that this is the year.”

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