Metrodome deflates in preparation for demolition – VIDEO
Officials from the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority opened the stadium’s relief vents to begin the deflation at 7:15 a.m. Saturday in downtown Minneapolis. Fans providing the air that supports the roof were turned off. The 10 acres of Teflon-coated fabric were done deflating in 35 minutes.
Bill McCarthy, vice chairman of the authority, called it “a sad and exciting day at the same time.” The deflation and the demolition of the Dome beginning next week will make way for construction of a new $1 billion Vikings stadium.
The authority gave the go-ahead despite concerns about weather conditions. According to the National Weather Service, between 4 and 5 inches of snow fell in the area overnight. Winds were a steady 5 to 10 mph Saturday morning.
The roof silently deflated under gray, snowy skies, sagging first in the middle. When the process was done, the stadium looked like a concave dish, rimmed with snow.
The morning snow was both a help and a safety concern, said Steve Maki, the authority’s director of facilities and engineering. “We moved it up to do it as soon as we were ready,” he said, noting officials were concerned that if the winds increased, the deflation would have been delayed.
St. Paul-based contractor Frattalone Companies is handling the demolition.