Amid Minnesota flavor there will be a foreign flair to Vikings stadium


Supporters of the new Vikings football stadium tout the project as an economic driver that will help boost the state's construction industry and rely heavily on Minnesota-derived materials.

However, there will be a foreign component to the project.

In its passage of the stadium construction bill, lawmakers were clear that they wanted northern Minnesota's Iron Range to be a major player. The 2012 law that approved the stadium says, "To the extent practicable, the authority and the team must ensure that the stadium be built with American-made steel that is made from Minnesota iron ore."

The Associated Press reports that Mortenson Construction's John Wood turned a few heads when he told the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority that some high-grade steel would have to be imported from Europe. Wood said that officials were placing an order with a global provider of the extra-strength steel from Luxembourg.

According to the AP report, Rep. Tom Rukavina, a Democrat from Virginia pressed for the Minnesota ore provision. Rukavina said it contributed to the vote for the bill.

"That, to me, is sinful is what it is," Rukavina said to the AP. "Looking outside the country is disturbing to me."

Wood indicated that 7,000 tons of steel that make up the perimeter of the stadium can be drawn domestically. That still will probably have only traces of Minnesota in it.

"Minnesota doesn't mill steel. It produces taconite pellets used in the steel milling industry. It actually does not produce directly structural steel used in buildings," Wood explained.

He added there isn't a direct connection between Minnesota taconite and steel going in any structure. Wood said most of that steel comes from scrap.

The stadium law establishes a goal of getting at least 25 percent of all construction materials from Minnesota businesses and there is a strong Minnesota flavor to the now $1 billion dollar project.

Mortenson Construction, which is the lead contractor on the stadium, is based in Golden Valley. Associated firm Thor Construction also is headquartered in Minneapolis and several other Minnesota companies including Ames Construction of Burnsville, Frattalone Companies of Little Canada and Veit Companies of Rogers are also involved in the construction of the stadium.

The Vikings announced Friday that they would pay $41 million dollars more on the cost of the project which has gone over 1-billion dollars. That announcement was made as Mortenson, the Vikings and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority finalized an agreement on a maximum price for stadium construction of $763 million.

Not all of the $1 billion for the stadium project will go into actual stadium construction.

Ground breaking for the new stadium is scheduled for Dec. 3. Major construction on the stadium is expected to get underway early next year when the Metrodome is demolished. The new stadium is scheduled to be open for the 2016 season.

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