Opened in 2016 at a cost of $1.1 billion, U.S. Bank Stadium will require some $280 million in maintenance to remain in top condition over the next decade, including nearly $48 million next year, according to an architectural assessment released Friday.
"Is there sufficient money to cover these? The answer to that is no," said Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) Chair Michael Vekich, as reported by the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "That is the work that we have to do collectively with [stadium operator] ASM, the Minnesota Vikings and ... the governor and the Legislature."
According to Roshelle Olson of the Star Tribune, the Minnesota Vikings and the public make annual contributions to the stadium capital improvement fund, which sits at just over $16 million. The audio-visual room — one of the areas that will need work soon — alone is expected to cost $14 million, the report said.
Kansas City-based Populous, an architectural firm specializing in stadiums and arenas, conducted the facility assessment on behalf of the MSFA, which oversees the seven-year-old building on behalf of Minnesota taxpayers. The MSFA paid $527,500 for the assessment. The stadium was designed by HKS.
Beginning in late December, Populous surveyed the building and found it to be in "very good shape" overall, according to senior principal architect Brady Spencer, who specializes in football stadiums and made the presentation to the MSFA meeting. The assessment included estimates for maintenance, including an anticipated 4 percent annual escalation.
"Really the important thing about this is protecting your investment in the stadium," Spencer said.
As reported by Olson, Populous documented the condition of the entire building, including physical elements as well as electrical, plumbing and audio-visual systems. Each area was categorized as good (well-maintained and functional), fair (in need of eventual attention) or worn (requiring replacement). Much of the stadium was determined to be in good shape. Areas said to be in poor condition include weather stripping on doors — which Spencer called typical for stadiums — a damaged concession display on the upper concourse and the in-house stadium TV distribution system. which is "nearing the end of its life," he said.
Spencer said the stadium's clear plastic roof and surrounding black zinc panels were in "very good condition," and the only issue was damage to one zinc panel near a doorway.
In the public comment portion of the MSFA meeting, Constance Pepin was one of two people who spoke on behalf of environmentalists who want the stadium's glass to be treated to spare birds from often fatal collisions. She called it a "glaring omission" that there was no mention of the glass treatment in the Populous assessment. Without more action, she said, the three-year-old $300,000 academic study on bird mortality funded by the MSFA and the Vikings would be in vain, according to Olson's Star Tribune report.