Vikings stadium 85 percent complete; budget goes up again
By: Brian Johnson December 18, 2015 3:54 pm
With seven months of construction to go, the Vikings stadium is now 85 percent complete and the project’s cost has grown to just north of $1.09 billion with the latest budget amendment.
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority added $232,345 to the budget Friday to allow for energy efficiency improvements within the building’s heating equipment and curtain wall.
The action essentially seals a deal with NRG Energy Center Minneapolis, which is contractually obligated to cover the cost, according to the authority. NRG is under contract to provide steam and chilled water services for the stadium.
“This is a good-news, win-win for the environment and for the project,” MSFA CEO and executive director Ted Mondale said at Friday’s MSFA board meeting.
The additional money covers the cost of “flooded heat exchangers” within the heating equipment and “argon-filled glass” within the curtain wall, both of which will make the building more energy efficient, Mondale said.
“Water comes through the heat exchanger and the heat exchanger gets it to the right temperature, then it flows through the building,” he said.
With the changes, the project’s budget climbs to $1.091 billion. That includes $498 million in public funding, $578 million from the team, $10 million from food and beverage provider Aramark, and other sources.
Also on Friday, the MSFA approved a request for proposals for construction services on the stadium’s West Plaza.
In July, the MSFA agreed to a $400,000 contract with Dallas-based HKS to design the stadium’s West Plaza, which includes portions of Chicago Avenue between Fourth and Fifth streets, and the stretch of Fifth Avenue between Park and Chicago avenues and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s block. HKS is also the stadium designer.
The MSFA staff is negotiating a contract revision with Golden Valley-based Mortenson Construction, the stadium’s construction manager, for West Plaza construction. But the MSFA wanted additional flexibility if it can’t cut a deal with Mortenson.
“We are keeping our options open at this point,” MSFA board chair Michele Kelm-Helgen said after the meeting.
Mondale said it’s a time-sensitive matter, with the West Plaza design work expected to be done before the end of the year. The West Plaza budget is $5.8 million, MSFA communications director Jenn Hathaway said in an email.
The MSFA also authorized staff to complete negotiations and enter into a contract for the installation of the artificial turf playing surface. A request for proposals was released Wednesday. Hathaway said the turf budget is $900,000.
Mondale said he expects proposals to come in shortly. A vendor is expected to be selected before the MSFA’s January board meeting.
“There are not a lot of major stadium turf providers, so we expect it will be just a couple of firms,” Mondale said. “This [board action] allows us to go ahead and award the contract should we come to the proper terms and proper type of system.”
Artificial turf installation is scheduled from May 9 to May 29, according to the RFP.
Also at the meeting, Mortenson Construction executive Kevin Dalager told the board that $710 million worth of work has been completed through November with help from 2.7 million “crew hours” and 280 Minnesota-based companies.
The stadium increasingly looks like a finished product from the outside, but work is quietly progressing on the interior, as well.
Concrete crews poured the final “slab-on-grade” section on the interior bowl event level last week, a milestone that allows Wells, Minnesota-based Wells Concrete to complete precast stadium activities, Dalager said.
The stadium bowl is starting to have a “finished look,” he said.
Workers are also moving forward with retractable seating, lighting, scoreboard and ribbon board installation, finishing work (especially on the north side), restrooms, concession stands and more.
Crews are ready for winter construction. With help from a temporary heating system and 53 air-handling units, the building will be kept at 50 degrees inside throughout the winter, Dalager said.
Construction is on schedule for completion in July.
MSFA executives, staff to get pay raises
The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority on Friday approved pay increases for its staff members, including the board chair and executive director.
MSFA board chair Michele Kelm-Helgen’s annual salary will increase 2.5 percent to $130,275, and CEO/executive director Ted Mondale will see a 1.9 percent increase to $165,333, according to MSFA documents.
Salaries for most full-time employees will increase 2.5 percent. But salaries or wage rates for three positions – senior executive office assistant/office administrator, project coordinator for the MSFA board and a finance assistant – will go up 10 percent.
The 10 percent pay increases reflect additional job duties for those positions, the MSFA said.
Mondale’s pay increase was limited to 1.9 percent because anything higher would put him above the “local government compensation” limit of $165,333. The compensation limit, approved by the Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner, takes effect Jan. 1.
As the basis for the pay adjustments, the MSFA cited tentative agreements in place for state labor plans. Those agreements include salary increases of 2.5 percent effective July 2015 and another 2.5 percent starting in July 2016.