New York company hired to replace Dome roof

Share this:
February 14, 2011 // UPDATED 11:19 am - February 25, 2011
By: Gregory J. Scott
Gregory J. Scott
EAST DOWNTOWN — Three decades after designing and installing the original roof, Birdair Inc. will soon begin work on the Metrodome’s new roof. The New York company was the only group to make a bid for the project, which the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission (MSFC) received on Feb. 24.

The MSFC will formally authorize the contract today.

Total costs for the project are estimated at $25 million. MSFC Commissioner Steve Maki said that he still expects FM Global, the Metrodome’s insurance carrier, to cover all expenses, minus a $25,000 deductible.

Time, of course, is of the essence. Birdair will be responsible for finishing all repair work by Aug. 1, in time for Vikings preseason games.

Hours before awarding the contract, Maki spoke at a luncheon sponsored by the East Downtown Council.

Roof work will start immediately, he said. But “the soonest that you would see something happening” at the Dome will be around the third week of March.

Maki estimated that the initial workforce would include 30 ironworkers and 10 supervisors. As repair work escalates in April, there could be as many as 60 to 70 professionals at the site, Maki said. To meet the late summer deadline, crews will most likely work 10-hour days, six days a week.

Most of the actual workforce will be concentrated inside of the stadium, Maki said, so there will be little disruption in the surrounding neighborhood.

When crews do take to the roof, they will work replace panels one at a time, sequentially, using the current roof as a work surface.

Maki pointed out that the new roof would have several improvements over the old one, designed to combat the twin dangers of snow and wind.  In addition to using a higher grade of fabric, the design will “smooth the profile of the roof,” he said, making more of a contour. The new shape will allow wind to pass more easily over the Metrodome.

In addition, the panel pattern will change. The diamond-shaped panels will shrink, creating much smaller valleys where snow tends to accumulate.

A new vertical batting will also be installed on the roof’s interior, a change intended to approve acoustics.

Another interesting tidbit: That new panels will appear brownish in color. They become white only after years of bleaching from sunlight.