Officials: Metrodome functional despite roof collapse

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Collapsed Metrodome
The collapsed roof of the Metrodome is shown in this aerial view in Minneapolis on Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010. The inflatable roof of the Metrodome collapsed Sunday after a snowstorm that dumped 17 inches on Minneapolis. No one was hurt, but the roof failure sent the NFL scrambling to find a new venue for the Vikings' game against the New York Giants.
AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt

Metrodome officials said Monday that the collapse of the stadium's roof doesn't make it obsolete.

In responding to critics pushing for a new stadium for the Vikings, Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission director Bill Lester emphasized that it's the first time in 28 years that the dome roof has collapsed.

"The stadium is functional," Lester told MPR's Morning Edition. "It functionally could last a while longer."

Lester said the turf, which is covered in snow, can be vacuumed. The concession stands and restrooms also were not affected by the roof collapse, he said.

Officials from Birdair Structures Inc. will arrive Monday to assess the damage and discuss repair options. Lester said it isn't clear how long it will take to repair the roof and reinflate it.

One option is patching it, Lester said. He said the other thing the experts might be able to do is assess the Metrodome's snowmelt practices, which he said have worked fine over the years.

Lester attributed the collapse to a "unique combination" of high winds, cold temperatures and heavy snow load. Crews had been melting snow on the roof Saturday but were pulled off at 6 p.m. for safety reasons. The dome collapsed at about 5 a.m. Monday.

The Vikings had been scheduled to play the New York Giants on Sunday. That game was moved to Monday night and will be played at Ford Field in Detroit.

Meanwhile, indoor temperatures at the Metrodome have dipped because of the hole in the roof.

"It's absolutely freezing," Lester said. "It does give you a taste of what outdoor football might be like in Minnesota in December."