MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The University of Minnesota joined the Minnesota Vikings in opposition to a plan to renovate the 19-year-old Metrodome into a football-only stadium.
"The Metrodome will continue to be, in our opinion, this urban, sterile environment that doesn't lend itself to a collegiate environment," said Eric Kruse, vice president for university services.
Kruse detailed the university's objections in a March 6 letter to Bill Lester, executive director of the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission, which manages the Dome.
The Sports Facilities Commission agreed with the Minnesota Twins long ago that the baseball team should seek its own stadium. In December, the commission announced a plan for an estimated $259 million renovation of the Metrodome for football.
All three teams say they need new stadiums to bring in more revenue. The Vikings dismissed the commission's proposal as unsatisfactory in part because luxury seats would be too far from the field.
Kruse cited several reasons why the university is rejecting the plan, including locker rooms that are too small, too long and too narrow. The university came to the conclusion after consulting with the sports architecture division of HNTB Corp., a Kansas City-based firm.
Lester said some of the Gophers' concerns could be easily addressed and that renovation remains an option.
The Vikings have been trying to convince the Gophers to sign on for a new stadium for the two football teams. Kruse wouldn't say whether the Gophers' position moves the university closer to a deal with the Vikings.
"We will continue to talk to see if we can come together," he said.
Both the Vikings and the Gophers have leases in the Metrodome through 2011.
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