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Vikings stadium update: Tight timeline, no bird-safe glass

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The construction schedule for the new Minnesota Vikings football stadium is so tight there's no "wiggle room," according to a team official.

Vikings vice president Lester Bagley told the Associated Press Wednesday that the "substantial completion date" is July 29, 2016 – nearly a month later than the original deadline of July 1.

The Vikings will host their first football game in the new stadium in mid-August 2016 when preseason begins. Bagley said the team hopes to hold a few other events in the facility before then as a sort of a shakedown cruise, "to get the bugs out and run people through there," Bagley told the AP. "There's no more wiggle room for sure. But everyone has buckled down to get it done."

The Associated Press notes that the completion date was pushed back to July 15 a while ago, and has now been delayed again.

That date is part of the contract among the Vikings, the public authority overseeing the project and the contractor, Mortenson Construction. Mortenson could be on the hook for penalties if it doesn't meet the deadline.

Meantime, Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen appeared before a legislative oversight committee Wednesday morning to update lawmakers on the project. A few items she shared, according to FOX 9.

– The main level concourse and upper level concourse are taking shape.

– Construction of the stadium's exterior walls will begin in January.

– Roof construction will begin in February.

– Construction crews have been working around the clock to take advantage of good weather.

Kelm-Helgen said more than 200 Minnesota companies are working on the new Vikings stadium, with 570 workers currently on site.

She also reiterated that the authority and the Vikings are not going to change the type of glass that'll be used in the stadium's walls and part of its roof. Environmentalists have urged them to install bird-safe glazed glass to prevent migrating birds from flying into the structure, but the team rejected the idea for cost and design reasons.

Kelm-Helgen said the clear glass panels specified in the original design have been ordered and will be installed beginning in December or January. She added that the stadium would follow lighting guidelines from the Audubon Society to help prevent bird deaths.

The new stadium will host the Super Bowl in 2018, and Kelm-Helgen told the committee that it's one of eight finalists in the competition to host an NCAA Final Four men's basketball tournament.

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