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Stay away from ‘dangerous’ Metrodome deflation, officials say

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last day of dome
One last look before deflation day.

Today is probably the last day the Metrodome will have a dome. Weather permitting, demolition workers plan to cut power to the stadium on Saturday, which will cause its domed roof to deflate.

Michele Kelm-Helgen, who chairs the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority, which oversees the construction of the new Vikings stadium, is discouraging members of the public from coming to watch the air going out of the big white bubble.

"It could be somewhat dangerous. Part of the reason we're doing it on a Saturday is so there's not the usual traffic and disruption and that kind of thing," she said on Friday. "It's a construction site, and we just need to let the companies that are doing this do their work."

The Vikings will provide live video of the deflation on the team's website, and MPR News will have reports, photos and video from the scene as well, but with a caveat -- the deflation could be delayed if winds are too high.

Once the Teflon and fiberglass dome is down, crews from Frattalone Companies will cut it into sections that will be used as tarps in future demolition projects.

The newest version of the dome roof is less than three years old. The $23 million replacement was installed after the previous dome was irreparably damaged in a snowstorm. Almost the entire cost was covered by insurance.

Officials are itching to keep construction rolling on the new Vikings stadium and hope the state Supreme Court rules as early as today on a lawsuit challenging the financing.  

The lawsuit claims the stadium law violates the Minnesota constitution because it uses Minneapolis sales taxes to finance bonds issued by the state. In response to the lawsuit this week, the state of Minnesota delayed selling the bonds that will pay for the project.

The sports facilities authority says it needs that money by next week to pay contractors and buy additional property near the site for a related development.

Further delay could cause significant problems for the stadium project, Kelm-Helgen said.

"Any kind of cloud hanging this can effect the kind of bids that we get, can effect just the way people look at this project," she said. "Our hope is that it does move forward as quickly as possible."