The authority that oversees U.S. Bank Stadium has approved blackout curtains for the facility, materials that are needed for the upcoming Final Four.
Home to the Minnesota Vikings, U.S. Bank Stadium is set to host the 2019 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. The facility’s design includes translucent material that is used for much of its roof, as well as large glass windows that offer views of downtown Minneapolis. To meet NCCA standards, which require that require that all four teams receive the same lighting regardless of the time of day, U.S. Bank Stadium will need to have blackout curtains installed over those areas.
That project took a step forward on Thursday, when the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) authorized a total of $5.2 million in funds–$4.6 million in spending, with the possibility for an additional $600,000. In conducting the vote, officials noted that the curtains are expected to be suitable for other events that could be hosted at U.S. Bank Stadium and not just the Final Four. More from the StarTribune:
MSFA Chairman Michael Vekich and executive director James Farstad selected two companies: Bluemedia, based in Tempe, Ariz., to cover the plastic roof, and Chicago Flyhouse Inc. for the glass windows and the doors. In all, U.S. Bank Stadium has nearly a half-million square feet of windows and roofing that must be covered to block the natural light.
Bluemedia CEO Jared Smith said that at first he didn’t think it could be done. “This really is a thread-the-needle project,” he said. The design team has to insert the curtains below the roof but above the sprinkler system, a space as narrow as 3.5 inches at some points.
Vekich, Farstad and the stadium operator justified the cost by saying the curtains are a long-term asset that will help attract future events. They will be needed for some religious conferences as well as concerts, they say.
The cost of the curtains will come from the stadium’s capital reserve account, funded by the state and the Vikings, the main tenant. Each contributes $1.6 million a year for building upgrades.
The 2019 Final Four will be the first hosted in Minneapolis since 2001, when the event took place at the Metrodome.
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