Metrodome: Tonight’s the last lap for RollerDome

It’s the end of an another era tonight as skaters take their last laps around the concourses at the Metrodome.

RollerDome is ending its run around the stadium with a final session from 5 p.m. to midnight tonight.

“There’s nothing we can do about it,” said founder Mike Cofrin. “There’s going to be a break in skating in Minnesota. When the new building opens it will be very welcomed by our loyal customers.”

It’s the second break for the winter skating venue: the building shut down the winter of 2010-2011 when the roof collapsed. Plans call for skating to resume at the new stadium in 2016, where the concourses will again ring the playing field. Cofrin said he expects the new stadium will have wider and smoother concourses when it opens.

RollerDome started in 1990 and has hosted nearly a million skaters during its run. Cofrin said it has helped foster a winter skating community here, off the ice.

“It’s a real important program for the active skaters in the marketplace, and that skating has, in part, has helped contribute to an active skating community,” he said.

RollerDome is expected to be packed tonight. Organizers are warning people to bring their own skates since there may not be enough skates to rent if a lot of people turn up.

The Vikings will hold an event for season ticket holders on Saturday night, and a final game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday. Plans for now call for salvage crews to start taking out the seats and getting the place read for demolition on Monday.

(With reporting from Tom Scheck)