Crews at the Metrodome are working on repairs on the collapsed roof of the stadium these days, and the dome won't be fixed until at least March. But you might be surprised to know that it isn't the only stadium dome in Minneapolis.
There's another one, just a couple miles away -- just as famous, but harder to see since it's tucked away in a corner of a Minneapolis warehouse.
The roof in question is actually in hundreds of pieces -- folded-up, 40-foot rolls of Teflon-coated fiberglass fabric. It's the same type of fabric that has arched over Twins and Vikings games for decades, but even more of it.
This fabric used to cover the BC Place stadium in Vancouver, B.C., Canada -- the largest air-supported dome in the world. Until, that is, British Columbia officials shut off the stadium's fans and deflated it, in April of this year.
A few weeks earlier, the stadium had hosted the closing ceremony for the 2010 Winter Olympics. That's when Matt McConville got a hold of the dome's fabric.
"They said, 'We'll take it down on this date,'" said McConville. "So we got our seven flatbeds in there, and lined them up and loaded them up, and brought them across and brought them in here and unloaded them. And this is where they are right now."
The fabric is housed in a warehouse in an industrial lot just off Hiawatha Avenue -- literally within walking distance of Minnesota's Metrodome.
McConville is co-owner of the Billboard Tarp Warehouse. A billboard tarp is the actual advertisement -- a photo or slogan -- that's strapped onto the front of a billboard for weeks or months, then replaced with a new ad.
The vinyl billboard tarps can't be melted down to make new plastic, so McConville finds new uses for them. He sells them to farmers to cover hay bales, to steel mills to wrap shredded metal. The old ads can even be made into luggage.
"We've shipped several containers to Haiti. They make temporary housing," he said. "We worked with some charitable organizations that would bring those down there, and it was kind of neat. We saw some of our former unused billboards down there on CNN -- used as temporary shelters."
That experience is why Canadian officials thought McConville might find new uses for their old dome.
"They found us," McConville said. "They asked a lot of questions, and we went through a long interview process with them, and wrote a lot of proposals. They wanted to make sure we were legitimate and we could move more than 450,000 square feet of Teflon material. We felt we could. We deal with a lot more than that on a monthly basis, with other industrial fabrics."
Officials that run the Vancouver stadium decided to replace the facility's Teflon dome after a winter storm deflated it in 2007. It was, with the Metrodome and the Tokyo Dome, one of the few remaining 1980s-era inflatable stadium roofs.
BC Place is getting a new a retractable roof, at a cost of more than $300 million. But first, the old roof had to come down and be disposed of.
The fabric can't be melted down or put on another stadium. But McConville says the Canadians didn't want to just throw away 10 acres of material.
Already, some of it has been turned into a skating rink liner in Kamloops, British Columbia. Some of it has been fashioned into souvenirs for Vancouver sports fans. Most of it, though, is still sitting in this Minneapolis warehouse, in rows and rows of 10-foot high racks, waiting its turn among the billboard tarps.
McConville thinks he'll find ready buyers for the dome material when it gets sorted out, measured and packaged for sale.
"We've had some people already making bags out of these things. Charitable organizations will be using this for temporary housing," said McConville. "There's just a million different things you can use this for. Plus, it's indestructible for the most part."
The Minnesota Vikings and their fans may beg to differ on that point. But McConville says he'd be happy to take the roof from Metrodome -- if and when it comes down for good.