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Feature

An architectural rendering of TCF Bank Stadium

The open end of the horseshoe on the new TCF Bank Stadium will afford views of the campus and of the downtown Minneapolis skyline.

Regents approve stadium design, new price tag

Jan. 3, 2007

Plans for a new Gopher football stadium are beginning to take shape, and that shape will be a traditional collegiate horseshoe that opens up to the campus of the University of Minnesota and to the downtown Minneapolis skyline beyond--all in a building that acknowledges the past while embracing the future of a burgeoning new part of campus.

At a special meeting of the University's Board of Regents on Jan. 3, the regents approved new schematic designs for TCF Bank Stadium as well as the stadium's revised budget, which is now $288.5 million.

"I think this design captures the character and the tradition of our campus," said President Bob Bruininks. "TCF Bank Stadium will be the largest and one of the highest profile buildings on campus, and we want it to be one of the more memorable venues in college football."

Added Athletics Director Joel Maturi: "It's a building we're proud of and all of us are excited to see [it] come out of the ground in the next two and a half years." (The stadium is scheduled to open in the fall of 2009.)

A collegiate look and feel

According to Scott Radecic, senior principal architect with HOK Sport, a primary goal of the architectural team was to design a stadium with a collegiate look and feel.

To that end, the stadium will have a traditional horseshoe shape and will be a "single rake" bowl, without the multiple decks and overhangs that characterize many professional stadiums.

The design calls for a blend of brick, stone and glass consistent with the architecture of the rest of campus. An exterior fa?ade will reflect and honor the look of the former Memorial Stadium, and new features--including a colonnade that rings the outside of the stadium--will offer "a way to transition into the future," Radecic said.

From its original conception, the stadium's orientation has shifted 90 degrees; now the open end of the horseshoe will face west toward the heart of campus.

Fan comfort will also be a priority, with 19-inch seats, 33-inch treads (the space between rows) and 45- to 60-foot corridors--considerably wider than the 24-foot width of the Metrodome's corridors.

The approved design is for a 50,000-seat facility that has the potential to expand to 72,000 to 80,000 seats.

University officials outlined an updated cost of $288.5 million, based on the changes intended to enhance the fan experience, improve campus aesthetics and incorporate sustainable or "green" architecture designs. Other cost increases have come from changes to the building code since the initial feasibility study and engineering challenges resulting from the type of soil present on the stadium site.

Bruininks stressed that the $39.8 million in added cost would not be funded by taxpayers, students or at the expense of the University's academic mission. Instead, the U will fund it using a combination of financing tools and increased athletics revenue that will result from the new stadium.

The Board of Regents approved the schematic design and the capital budget amendment for the increased cost by a vote of 11-1.

The University is moving forward on reaching its $86.5 million private-sector fundraising goal for the new stadium. Less than $40 million remains to be raised, with a number of pledges to be announced soon.

For more information on the stadium, visit the stadium Web site.

Related reading: Legislature approves on-campus football stadium U breaks ground for new stadium Proposed deal with state would increase funding for stadium