Governor’s committee favors joint stadium over two-venue plan

Koran Addo

Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s stadium screening committee heard a proposal Tuesday to build two stadiums side by side on the University’s St. Paul campus.

The proposal called for the Gophers, Twins and Vikings to share the two stadiums.

Richard Wolfgramm, representing himself as a private citizen, said he got the idea for the facility after he became frustrated with the reluctance the public has with building a stadium.

Wolfgramm said his plan minimizes the expense of building a stadium because its location on University land makes the project eligible to be financed by tax-exempt bonds.

The plan’s novelty lies in a concrete and glass frame surrounding both stadiums, allowing a moveable roof that slides over either stadium. A sliding roof is less expensive than a retractable roof, Wolfgramm said.

The projected cost for the two stadiums is $700 million.

The committee also reviewed the possibility of a Gophers-exclusive stadium presented by the University on Jan. 6.

A recent study completed by the University found a 50,000-seat stadium would cost $222 million.

After the presentation, the committee advised the University to reconsider a joint stadium with the Minnesota Vikings.

Committee spokesman John Doan said the panel restated the same financial concerns and that no resolutions were developed.

“Given the option, I think the committee would still rather like a joint University and Vikings stadium,” Doan said. “But whether that’s workable, we don’t know yet.”

University President Bob Bruininks said Monday the University will not take an active role during this week’s committee meetings and there are currently no new developments regarding a campus stadium.

Bruininks said the University will look into ways to solve transportation and environmental issues associated with building a new stadium on campus.

Bruininks also said he hopes to talk with students about funding the stadium.

The committee will meet again today to continue its discussions.