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U.S. Bank Stadium Seat Installation Helped by Innovation, Teamwork

MINNEAPOLIS —A process that began with a few drilled holes one afternoon at the east end of U.S. Bank Stadium has come to fruition, resulting in a wave of purple seats around the bowl of the venue.  

A crew from Irwin Seating that ranged from six people to 35 has finished the nine-month installation of nearly 64,000 seats — and did so two weeks ahead of schedule — for the venue that remains on track for completion in July.

The panoramic of purple includes more than 58,000 fixed seats and nearly 6,000 that are on what Eric Grenz, a construction executive with Mortenson, said is the biggest retractable system in the U.S. The size of the retractable area will lend itself to the multipurpose features of the $1.1 billion venue.

View images from the last seats being installed recently at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"When we would walk in the building over the last year, it looked like a beautiful building, but the seats started going in in June of 2015, and to see that last set of seats go in, it really brings the stadium to life," Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren said. "One of the things it does is really show you how intimate the building will be.

"This is really getting close to becoming a reality," Warren added.

The Vikings have announced **a sweepstakes** in which a fan can win two tickets for the entire 2016 inaugural football season.

The seats that are designated as "fixed" are actually able to be slid left and right on a rail system to allow for what is a planned capacity of 66,200 for Vikings games (when ADA seating, limited mobility seating and Club Purple are included).

View some of the best images of U.S. Bank Stadium through the first 90-plus percent of the build.

The sliding component of the fixed seats will allow the venue to increase its capacity by several thousand seats for events like Super Bowl LII in 2018 and the Men's Final Four in 2019. The retractable seat system will enable the venue to best host other sports and events.

"The seating in this stadium allows some of the best sightlines for all events; from high school baseball to concerts to soccer to NFL football, we will offer a premier viewing experience, said MSFA Chair Michele Kelm-Helgen. "The seats are wider with more legroom and I think event goers will all be pleased. This final seat installation marks another major milestone on our march to opening on time, thanks to the work of Mortenson/Thor and our other stadium partners."

Avin Kallenbach, who oversaw installation, said that the rail system enabled the crew to work quickly and in waves to drill holes for the rails, then attach the seats, working around to the completion point at the southwest of the stadium.

If not for the innovative rail system, the seats would have been installed individually at a slower pace and expanding the capacity would have been more challenging. The width of the seats will be 19 to 22 inches, considerably wider than many sporting venues, and the rows are 33 to 35 inches wide, providing expanded legroom, Grenz said.

Warren remembered plenty of planning discussions for the seats, where the merits of the rail system, its function and durability were discussed. Warren said it has been rewarding to see the seat installation and know the collaboration that helped its early finish, as well as the teamwork that has the stadium 92 percent complete.

"Every morning when I wake up, I pray for, one, the safety of all the workers, but two, I'm just really grateful for the collaboration that's come together between architect HKS, Mortenson Construction, between the [MSFA], the Vikings, all the consultants and various people," Warren said. "It's not like one thing is being worked on in that building at a time. There's a multiplicity of things coming together where people have to work together. This is the largest construction project in the history of Minnesota.

"Speaking on behalf of the Wilf family, the Vikings organization, all of our fans around the world, and me personally, we're grateful and humbled that so many people have come together to work hard on this stadium," Warren added.

The seats sit silently, but not for much longer. U.S. Bank Stadium **will host an International Champions Cup*** *match between A.C. Milan and Chelsea on Aug. 3, and concerts highlighted by Luke Bryan (Aug. 19) and Metallica (Aug. 20).

"I think it reiterates the vision that the Wilf family had, that the stadium was not only for Vikings football," Warren said. "That was the primary purpose for us, but that it also would serve as an opportunity to be an economic engine for the Twin Cities community."

Additionally, the Vikings will host two preseason games within the building's first month, before rolling into an eight-game home slate in the regular season.

Vikings fans have claimed more than 46,000 Stadium Builder's Licenses seats, leaving fewer than 4,000 for the inaugural season.

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