Bird advocates call for special glass that could seriously delay Vikings stadium construction, add $60 million to cost

Updated Jan 20, 2015

Crews and head contractor Mortenson Construction have successfully fought through a worker shortage and below-freezing temperatures to keep construction on the new Minnesota Vikings football stadium on schedule.

But like a running back who has fought his way to the end zone only to have his celebration cut short by a late penalty flag, Mortensen has yet another setback to deal with.

Bird advocates.

According to reports form Minnesota Public Radio News, the Audubon Society began rallying its members in July to speak out against the new stadium’s glass exterior, calling it a “death trap,” that “could kill thousands of migratory birds unless the stadium’s builders take immediate action to incorporate bird safe measures.”

MPRN reports that the bird advocates are calling for Mortenson and the Vikings to replace the glass on order with etched, or “fritted,” glass.

And while birds would likely appreciate a slightly less-reflective surface on the massive stadium, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says changing the glass order would add up to 23 weeks onto the project. Beyond missing the August 2016 deadline for the Vikings’ first home game, the change would also increase the project’s cost by up to $60 million.

The added cost would come as a result of the order change, the potential for construction workers being idle, “weather related costs,” and absent rent money from the Vikings would be forced to remain at TCF Bank Stadium, for some or all of the 2016 season. The Vikings are currently playing home games at TCF, which also serves as the home of the University of Minnesota.

But stadium officials are at least trying to find a middle-ground. They are testing four types of film coating for the glass that has already been ordered that could make the stadium less of a bird magnet.