New Vikings Stadium, a bird ‘death trap,’ will not install special glass to save birds
Citing added costs and delayed construction time, the powers that be involved in building the new Minnesota Vikings stadium in downtown Minneapolis have opted not to install a special kind of glass that would have theoretically allowed it to be less of a bird "death trap."
The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Friday that the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority opted against the "fritted" glass lobbied for by bird activists who are concerned that game days could become a truly unsettling scene for fans. From the Star Tribune:
(Bird lover) Howard Miller raised the specter of dead indigo buntings and ruby-throated hummingbirds "thwacking" against the glass, falling to the ground and lying lifeless on the sidewalk as purple-clad masses arrived for games.
"For many fans, the day is ruined," he said of the possible carnage.
Yikes. Quite an image there.
But authorities weren’t swayed, ultimately choosing the path of better commerce. Chairwoman Michele Kelm-Helgen said Viracon, the stadium’s Owatonna-based glass maker, had said changing the glass order to substitute the glass would take as much as 23 extra weeks, possibly keeping the Vikings in TCF Bank Stadium at the University of Minnesota for longer than the one additional season currently planned, and divert other events. She said that could affect the rent the Vikings would pay to the stadium authority.
Estimates of the total cost of the fritted glass and the delay it would cause vary widely, with authorities claiming a range of $25-60 million. Even at the high end, $60 million is only about 5 percent of the estimated $1.1 billion cost of the whole thing.
In July, the Audubon Society sparked the controversy by referring to the glass-heavy stadium as a "death trap" for migratory birds in the area near the Mississippi River.
The Vikings are slated to begin playing in their new digs for the 2016 season. It is also scheduled to host the 2018 Super Bowl.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.