EDEN PRAIRIE (AP) -- The most recent plan to renovate the Metrodome continues to underwhelm the Minnesota Vikings.
The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission's proposal to spruce up the 18-year-old facility comes with a $259 million price tag, far less than the estimated $400 million or $500 million needed to build a new stadium.
The plan would force the Twins to leave after the 2003 season, so that renovation would not interfere with the Vikings' and Gophers' football seasons.
The Vikings, who have a lease with the Metrodome through 2011, said the proposal falls short of capturing their attention.
"I'm disappointed this issue keeps cropping up," said Vikings executive vice president Mike Kelly, the point man in their stadium drive. "The proposal that was presented today was the same proposal we saw many, many months ago, except that now it costs $259 million instead of $226 million."
Kelly said the Vikings believe the inherent limitations in renovating a domed stadium are too vast to be worthwhile.
"The only way to really address the problem is to go new," Kelly said. "I just wish the stadium facilities commission would choose to work with us on the stadium issue. I just feel this isn't helpful at all. I do think it isn't helpful for them to be working at cross-purposes with us."
Members of the commission wish the Vikings would give the plan a chance. The proposal would add about 5,000 seats and 40 luxury suites to the Metrodome for the Vikings and the Gophers.
The plan would add to the concourse, concession and restroom areas. New club facilities would include 8,900 seats. An upper concourse would be added, as well as new restaurants and team stores.
"They've never given this the thorough vetting it deserves," said Bill Lester, executive director of the commission, adding he believes they previously decided not to look at it. "I think that's to their own undoing."
The commission said a renovated Metrodome would limit public investment, provide the Vikings and Gophers with more revenue, provide a fan-friendly stadium, keep the Vikings in Minnesota beyond the date of their lease and preserve the Metrodome as a multipurpose stadium.
"The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome has served the people of Minnesota well for the last 18 years," said Kathryn Roberts, the commission chair. "Based on extensive research, the commission believes that the Metrodome is far from obsolete and can serve its tenants and the public well for many years to come. While renovation is not the only solution, it is certainly a viable and prudent option for the public and policymakers to consider."
Officials from the Twins and University of Minnesota could not be reached for comment. University officials have said they will study the proposal, but athletic director Tom Moe has said he favors having a stadium on campus. The Twins also are seeking a new stadium.
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