The Audubon Society is calling for a change in the plans for the new stadium, which is scheduled to hold the Super Bowl in 2018. The Society claims that the Vikings ignored their advice on which glass to use in the stadium and as a result are risking the lives of thousands of birds.
The Audubon Society claimed that they met with the stadium developers as recently as April 2014.
The problem comes from the type of glass and lighting that the stadium uses, according to the Audubon Society.
Hundreds of millions of dollars of public money is going to build this stadium, and we know the people of Minnesota do not want their money killing birds. The Vikings recently approved spending millions and millions of additional dollars to make sure the stadium is iconic surely they also want to make sure it s not a death trap. We re asking them to change their minds and do the right thing, Audubon Minnesota Executive Director Matthew Anderson said in a press release.
UPDATE: The Vikings issued a statement to For the Win:
We have met multiple times with representatives from the Audubon Society and, together with the MSFA and HKS, have been working collaboratively to address concerns regarding bird safety.
The Vikings and the MSFA have agreed to implement lighting operational procedures, when possible, to mitigate bird collisions during peak migratory periods. We are also discussing the Audubon s various recommendations regarding the lighting design for the stadium.
Stadium construction costs continue to rise, and unfortunately the budget does not include the additional cost required by the Audubon Society s recommended glass. We will continue to partner with the MSFA to enhance bird safety through the lighting design and operational guidelines.
UPDATE: The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has also released a statement:
The new stadium design and budget were completed prior to conversations with the Audubon Society. The design was also completed prior to changes in state guidelines related to bird-safe glass.
One of the design goals was to create a building that was more connected and integrated with the community than the Metrodome had been, said Michele Kelm-Helgen, chair of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority. The ability to see in and out of the stadium was what led us to the design that included the ETFE roof and operable doors on the downtown facing wall.
We have met several times with the Audubon Society and worked with Mortenson and HKS to look at all options for design and operational solutions to minimize bird collisions.
We have agreed to the Audubon Society s operational approaches, including the Lights Out guidelines.
We have also taken into consideration the lighting design for the stadium, and where we are able, we will follow the Audubon s suggestions.
We were able to adopt operational guidelines used by other downtown office and residential buildings, we were unable to change the design and do not have the budget to include the $1.1 million needed for bird safe glass.
We will continue to work with the Audubon Society on operational enhancements that will help make the facility bird friendly.