After nine months in operation, the Minnesota Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium is experiencing unforeseen problems in the form of loose exterior paneling and leaky walls. On Friday, stadium officials told the StarTribune that it is yet unclear how serious the problem is, or how easy it will be to fix.
The exterior panels have been a concern for more than a year, with repair work ongoing since before the stadium opened in July. Panels have been loosened by storms and wind, with some of the panels coming away from the building completely.
Executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority Rick Evans told the StarTribune that engineers and metallurgists have been commissioned to perform testing on the zinc panels that cover the building’s exterior. He said the panels present a health and safety risk that has become his top priority.
The first water issues came to light last year, when dampness on a parapet necessitated the replacement of an interior moisture barrier. Now, concerns have turned to the northwestern facade, where water is seeping in to form puddles in the women’s bathrooms, the concourse and a storage area.
"Whether they're related or different is still a question in my mind," said Evans. "When we have an issue with one portion of the building, we're looking at the entire facade."
For now, the action plan includes replacing the moisture barriers on interior panels and adding another layer of waterproofing underneath the panels. Precautions will also be taken against the formation of dangerous icicles on the walls.
According to Evans, the extensive testing of the exterior panels “shouldn’t be read to mean we've got horrible problems ... it's a complex fastening system and we're looking at all of it to make sure what we paid for is what we're getting."