UPDATE: March 3, 2020: In a joint statement issued on Feb. 28, M.A. Mortenson Co. and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority announced that several designers, engineers, contractors and their insurance companies have reached a mediated agreement as to outstanding construction issues at the US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. The work, which deals primarily with the replacement of the stadium's wind-damaged and leaking exterior enclosure, is estimated to cost $21 million, according to Lisa Niess, director of marketing and communications for US Bank Stadium, and will take two years.
Architectural firm HKS will oversee the redesign, which will retain the same aesthetic of the current exterior with the possibility of a few variations. However, the new exterior will use a different design, engineering and construction and "water barrier redundancies" not included in the original design. Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger will perform the engineering work; Mortenson will serve as construction manager; and MG McGrath will install the new exterior.
The eight companies involved in the fix will pay for the work through a fund established during mediation. They are Mortenson; McGrath; Custom Drywall Inc.; TRI-Construction; Larson Engineering, Inc.; Thornton Tomasetti Inc.; HKS; and Studio Five Architects, Inc. No public money will be used to pay for the new exterior.
- The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA), which is responsible for operations at the $1.1 billion U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, revealed that it is in mediation with "multiple parties involved in the design and construction process" of the venue. The authority did not release any details about the nature of the issue or which companies are involved, citing confidentiality around discussions.
- It is possible that the issue involves moisture problems with black zinc panels at the stadium's exterior, according to the Star Tribune. They were originally fastened to the stadium at their bottom edges, and, after windy weather forced some to flap open, crews reinforced the panels' connections to the exterior of the venue. After moisture issues continued, the plan shifted to include installing moisture barriers at the joints of the stadium's interior panels and a new layer of Tyvek, a protective wrap, under the zinc panels, but there has never been a full public accounting of the repair costs or whether designers or contractors were at fault.
- In its public statement, the MSFA made a point of stating that it would safeguard the public's investment in the project, which totals almost $500 million. The state contributed $348 million, and a gas tax will generate $150 million. The MSFA characterized the mediation process thus far as "collaborative" and "positive" and said it will share details once the parties have reached a final agreement.
General contractor Mortenson Construction, which achieved substantial completion on the project six weeks ahead of schedule in 2016 and also obtained the venue's certificate of occupancy early, made the following statement: "We are aware the MSFA Board meeting included attorney-client discussions regarding construction closeout and matters involving Mortenson and other companies. We’re pleased to have a longstanding and positive relationship with the MSFA so out of respect for their internal processes, we refer further questions to their team."
During construction of the stadium, Mortenson and the MSFA had a smooth relationship, largely keeping disputes under wraps. Through mediation, the two ended up reaching a resolution on a reported $15 million of change orders, which Mortenson said was for design changes. The MSFA put $16 million in escrow to cover any unanticipated changes.
The MSFA must also work with the Minnesota Vikings and stadium operator ASM Global in deciding what actions to take in response to a two-year study on bird collisions at the venue. The MSFA-sponsored study cost $300,000.
The study found that about 111 migrating songbirds are killed annually after flying into the stadium's glass. Despite protests from bird advocates during construction, the approximately 200,000 square feet of glass on the building's exterior was never treated to prevent bird collisions. The glass's reflection appears to birds as sky and trees.
According to the study, applying a film will reduce collisions by as much as 85% and cost between $40,000 and $570,000 just for materials. If the MSFA, Vikings and ASM decide to treat the glass, the earliest that potential bidders can expect a Request for Proposals is this summer.