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Vikings stadium budget approved after team ups its payment

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Mortenson Construction's John Wood shook hands with Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen as they and the Vikings reached on final agreement on construction of a new NFL stadium. Lester Bagley, right, is the team's vice president for stadium development. (MPR Photo/Tim Nelson)

The Minnesota Sports Facility Authority approved its final construction budget for the new Vikings stadium today after the Minnesota Vikings agreed to add tens of millions of dollars more to the project.

The team's owners say they will increase their contribution to the new stadium $41.4 million beyond the original $477 million they pledged to the project.

That additional payment includes $26.4 million in new money and $15 million shifted from costs tied to TCF Bank Stadium, where the Vikings will play starting next year until the new stadium opens.

"The options were to cut back the building or even step back and redesign the building, or elements of the building to try to bring the number down, or have the team or the ownership contribute additional dollars," Vikings vice president Lester Bagley said. "That's the path that made the most sense."

Before the authority met to approve the final deal, Bagley said it was important to keep the stadium's iconic design, prevent it from being scaled back and to ensure fan amenities remain.

In October, team officials pledged an additional $13 million to the project. They added another $13 million today, plus the money from TCF Bank Stadium. The original project budget called for the Vikings to be reimbursed for the TCF stadium losses, but that money will now go into the new building.

The team's move will put the price of the project just over $1 billion. The actual construction cost will be just over $763 million. The rest of the price pays for design, planning, land acquisition and other aspects of getting the project ready to begin.

"This is a significant day, a milestone in the project," said MSFA chairwoman Michelle Kelm-Helgen as she used a gavel to call the meeting to order this morning, ready to give final approval to a land purchase, a stadium price and other final details of the project.

John Wood, of Mortenson Construction, said that fences will go up around the Metrodome parking lot on Monday, and crews will start peeling away the asphalt on Tuesday. The company also must order special high-strength steel from Luxembourg for the roof spans. "We should be starting to pour concrete in the early part of January," he said.

Wood said his company would steer the project forward, and handle any financial surprises. Today's agreement caps cost to the Vikings and taxpayers.

"It's our responsibility to build the building as it has been designed for that guaranteed maximum price, and if we have missed our estimate on that, then we're at risk for that," Wood said.

Here's the Vikings release on the details.