U.S. Bank Stadium Embraces the Beauty of Minnesota

Feb 24, 2016
As the playoffs begin for the 2015-2016 National Football League season, the Minnesota Vikings hope to finish out with some wins in their last games at TCF Bank Stadium. Next season, they eagerly begin play at their newly constructed, state-of-the-art U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The Vikings’ new home, heavily influenced by its Minnesota location, boasts a stunning design along with expert functionality, and will provide a one-of-a-kind experience for Vikings’ fans.

The stadium project, the largest public works project in state history, is the centerpiece of a major redevelopment in the Downtown East area, including the Medtronic Plaza, a three-acre gateway to the stadium. It will serve not only as home to the Vikings, but will be available for year-round use for the citizens of the Twin Cities, already landing the 2018 Super Bowl.

From the start of the project, the regional importance of the job has not been lost on the project workers. Of the approximate 250 trade partners, over 90 percent are Minnesota-based companies. Even more noteworthy, a goal to ensure workforce equity once thought to be unobtainable, a minority workforce of 32 percent, has been shattered. According to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, 37 percent of the workers are minorities. Additionally, almost 10 percent are women, surpassing the goal set by the state of six percent women. Minority workers have contributed over 1 million of the 2.7 million work hours in the construction to date.

Working on the project are Iron Workers Local 512 (Minneapolis/St. Paul) and Danny’s Construction Company. Danny’s Construction Company President and IMPACT Management Trustee Alissa Schneider stated, “I am extremely proud of the accomplishment of our crews on the Vikings’ U.S. Bank Stadium project. Local 512 did a great job using creative methods of outreach. Our joint apprenticeship committee has focused on increasing apprentice retention and graduation rates by changing our entrance methods, incorporating field trips, mock-ups and mentoring programs to our apprenticeship classes.”

In addition to Danny’s Construction, many other union ironworker contractors were on hand, including Bald Eagle Erectors, LeJuene Steel Company, BTT Steel, Derr and Isbell Construction, E & J Rebar, Gopher Stage and Lighting, Interclad, Vector Foiltec, Woody Rebar and River Steel. E & J Rebar installed 9,033 tons, while Woody’s Rebar installed 3,000 tons, with over 125,000 man-hours. Fabrication work was done by ironworker members from Local 535 (Minneapolis/St. Paul) and Local 811 (Wausau, Wisc.).

Local 512 and Danny’s Construction worked to complete the project as efficiently and safely as possible. Daily meetings with the in-house engineering team and the ironworkers and operators allowed for a constant dialogue to provide for an effective and protected jobsite. “Our safety support team included two ironworkers who have taken IMPACT’s Safety Trained Supervisor Construction prep courses for the STSC certification,” said Schneider. “These two are now focusing on safety positions and were vital to the safe completion of the project.”

Danny’s Construction contracts included contracts for the long span roof truss, installation of the operable doors, assisting with installation of the translucent roof panels and installing 8.5 miles of handrail. A notable aspect of truss work was its building from the outside toward the middle requiring superior technology and quality control.

The project broke ground in December 2013 and topped out in September 2015 with the longstanding tradition of placement of the highest or final beam. With over 1,500 workers looking on at the topping out ceremony, a tree was placed on top of the final beam, along with an American flag. Over 240 ironworkers from Danny’s Construction, LeJuene Steel Company and Iron Workers Local 512 worked 240,000 hours on the roof steel of the building, placing over 11,000 tons of steel, including the 989-foot-long, 1,700-ton ridge truss standing 214 feet above the playing field.

The 65,000-seat stadium design provides fans with indoor stadium with an outdoor feel, giving them an outdoor experience while staying warm and dry during the winter months. The ETFE (ethylene tetrafluoroethylene) roof is extremely durable, lightweight and translucent, avoiding the dark feel of closed stadiums. The material allows for the building to shed snow in a quick and efficient manner. The roof is also acoustically reflective giving the Vikings a home-field advantage as the fans can bring on the noise and silence opposing teams.

With the design and shape of the stadium meant to suggest a Viking’s ship and the feel of icebergs, U.S. Bank stadium may prove to the best and most innovative stadium in the NFL offering the greatest fan experience in the league.

The ironworkers are credited with having to be the finest in the industry to complete the U.S. Bank Stadium’s bold design and geometry. The project would not have been possible without the impressive teamwork of the union contractors and their workers.

A special thank you to the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, the Minnesota Vikings and Danny’s Construction for their assistance in preparing this article.

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