Stadium authority plans to break ground before Thanksgiving

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The stadium authority building a new home for the Vikings still plans to break ground on the project before Thanksgiving.

Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chair Michele Kelm-Helgen told lawmakers today that her agency, the Vikings, HKS Architects and Mortenson Construction are still working on ways to keep the cost under $988 million. That's the cap set by the team and the state.

But Kelm-Helgen said she expects the stadium's eye-catching look to remain unchanged.

"We are not doing any value engineering of the major elements of the building, things like the pivoting doors, the ETFE, that roof that's transparent that seems to kind of define the building from kind of a design standpoint, all those major pieces are still intact," Kelm-Helgen said.

Team vice president Lester Bagley also spoke before the Legislative Commission on Minnesota Sports Facilities this afternoon. Bagley said once final construction specifications are hammered out, the team will close on its financing.

"That domino will fall, and we can get our financing done, the state can issue bonds and we can get the shovel in the ground, and get to the construction and get to putting people to work, which is what we've been talking about and wanting to do for a long time," Bagley said.

Stadium construction originally was to have started in October, but was delayed until this week.  But even as she looks at another two-week wait, Kelm-Helgen believes the process can move quickly as soon as the final construction details are hammered out.

The team and MSFA officials said they're confident the stadium will open by the summer of 2016.