U grants contracts for Gophers/Vikings stadium pre-design

Brad Unangst

The University awarded four contracts for completion of the joint Gophers/Vikings football stadium pre-designs Thursday. The move is in preparation for another attempt to secure state stadium construction funding during the upcoming legislative session.

State support for a stadium stalled last year, but legislators approved creation of a football stadium account as part of the Minnesota Twins stadium bill.

The contracts’ combined value is $325,000.

Crawford/Hargreaves will develop a conceptual plan for the building. SRF Consulting Group will be responsible for planning roads, bridges, traffic and parking. Sebesta Blomberg and Peer Environmental and Engineering Resources will deal with water, sewer and power utilities and clean up any on-site pollution. Hines/Turner will provide a
second cost estimate for these projects.

University and Vikings officials said many of the companies have experience working on sports facilities. They also agreed the work the companies for the Gophers/Vikings stadium would outweigh the contract’s value.

“We’re going to get a lot of bang for the money we’re spending on this,” said University chief financial officer Richard Pfutzenreuter.

The high-profile nature of a new stadium contributed to the
companies’ commitment to provide their services at a low cost, said Lester Bagley, the Vikings stadium consultant.

The University received $500,000 from the stadium account the state Legisluture created in May. Proceeds from the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, the state commission that operates the Metrodome, filled the account.

Of the remaining $175,000 from the account, $100,000 is set aside for legal fees associated with preparing the memorandum of understanding, an official agreement on use and operation of the stadium, said Brian Swanson, University Planning’s pre-design coordinator.

Another $50,000 will be used to hire a sports facilities consultant, someone with “intimate knowledge associated with running a stadium,” and $25,000 was slated for miscellaneous project costs, Swanson said.

The finished memorandum and stadium designs will be presented to the Legislature for funding approval by Dec. 1. University officials plan to present the project to the Board of Regents in November, Swanson said.

With only three to four months to complete the work, both University and Vikings officials said the time frame is short but not unrealistic.

“Everyone who proposed on the project understood (the time constraint) going into it,” Bagley said. “All of them understand what we’re asking.”

Bagley called the contracts a good start toward completing the stadium, saying he hopes construction could start in June.

“We think it takes us one step closer to reality,” he said.

 

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