It looks like they’re down to a single open panel in the roof of the Metrodome today. Metropolitan Sports Facitiies Commission facilities manager Steve Maki said crews were scheduled to put in a triangle panel this morning, leaving one diamond panel open.
Sports Facilities Commission chairman Ted Mondale says the dome could be closed up as soon as next week. Crews still have to add neoprene covers to the panel clamps, re-install lightning rods and other details.
Minneapolis photographer Janelle Nivens recently took a great picture from southwest of the dome, showing the progress so far. Those green things are air pillows lashed to the roof panels to keep them taut and prevent them from moving in high winds.
It’s been 208 days since the Dome deflated after the 5th biggest storm in recorded Twin Cities history. The project is supposed to be done and ready for inflation by the first part of August. The Vikings first preseason game is scheduled for Saturday Aug. 27.
Here’s what Mall of America Field looked like on the inside, from the football press box, this morning (click on the picture for a larger version):
You can see the lifts reaching up to that last opening to the center right of that picture. The field is still covered with plywood, although the scoreboards have been powered up and the sound system is fixed.
The grey panels hanging down are part of the new acoustic damping system that’s replacing the scrim that used to cover the bottom surface of the dome. Up close, they look like big silver blankets. Here’s Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission executive assistant Julie Millikan holding one up during a tour this morning. They’re supposed to help suppress the reflection of sound from the seating area, but allow heat from the bowl to more easily reach the roof and melt the kind of snow that brought the Dome down in December.