Civic beat // Fans get first glimpse at stadium concepts

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October 8, 2012 // UPDATED 4:21 pm - July 26, 2013
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority on Sept. 28 announced that it has selected HKS Sports & Entertainment Group to design the new Vikings stadium.

The Dallas-based firm designed two recently built NFL stadiums, winning the contracts for Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. 

The MFSA awarded HKS a $34 million design services contract. After the contract was awarded, HKS released conceptual images of what a new stadium might look like. 

While no local firms were among the five bidders for the project, HKS is promising to partner with a local architecture firm and to target minority- and women-owned firms for portions of the contract. The MFSA says HKS will hire 11 percent women-owned firms and 8 percent minority-owned firms. 

“We are excited to begin our process with the people of Minnesota. We will soon have a local architecture firm as a partner, and are excited to hire targeted businesses to help with our design work,” Bryan Trubey of HKS said in a statement. 

HKS-designed stadiums in Dallas and Indianapolis have retractable features. In Dallas, the roof and both walls can open. In Indianapolis, the roof and windows are retractable. 

The $975 million budget for the new stadium was only supposed to cover a fixed-roof for the stadium, but MSFA Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said the MSFA is hoping to find a way to fund some sort of retractable element. 

“I think everyone is committed to try to see if there’s a possibility of doing some sort of retractable feature of some kind,” she said. “[We’re thinking] about potentially a retractable wall that could open toward downtown … as one possibility.” 

Kelm-Helgen said she expects the MSFA to pick a construction company in November. 

Lester Bagley of the Minnesota Vikings said that once a construction company is picked, more of the stadium details will come into focus. It’s still unclear if the Vikings will have to spend one or two seasons playing in TCF Bank Stadium during construction. 

“It’s in everybody’s best interest to try to limit the number of games and seasons at TCF Bank Stadium, but that I think will be more determined over the next few months here,” Bagley said. 

HKS, the Vikings and the MSFA will begin a public meeting process on Oct. 15 at Minneapolis City Hall. The groups will meet with the Minneapolis Stadium Implementation Committee at 4 p.m.

To see the HKS portfolio, visit hksinc.com.

Goats in city parks? Commissioner 

says it’s worth looking into

Park Board Commissioner Brad Bourn has an idea for combating buckthorn in Minneapolis parks: Bring goats in to gobble up the invasive plants. 

How such an idea might work would still need to be examined, said the Sixth District Park Board member who represents Southwest. He’d like city staff to examine the issue more to see if it would be cost-effective, and perhaps start a pilot program.

“I thought it might be an interesting pilot to try. Primarily, I want to get some more information to see if it’s cost effective first,” Bourn said. “But if it is, it’s kind of an interesting way to connect park users to nature on a different level and show people how nature, animals and people can all be connected.”

Bourn’s idea isn’t original. City staffers had mentioned the idea to him, and it’s been used in other cities, he said. 

Bourn said goats might work best if the Park Board hires someone to bring in their own goats instead of having the city try to take care of the animals. 

Currently, Bourn said, buckthorn is dealt with by volunteers and seasonal staff. Removal can be very costly when staff are used, Bourn said. 

Bourn’s idea got a mixed review from the rest of the Park Board. In a survey of eight Park Board members on their budget priorities for 2013, three said they don’t support the idea at all. Three were more supportive than not. Overall, it was given a score of 2 on a scale of 1-5. 

Reach Nick Halter at nhalter@mnpubs.com