First it was a dream, now it’s a reality. But along the way was an intensive planning process that brought stakeholders together and made sure success was the only option.
The University of Minnesota first began exploring a new on-campus Gopher football stadium in 2003. The process began with a feasibility study that determined the appropriate size and type of stadium, preliminary construction and operating costs, revenue potential, and uses beyond football.
A set of guiding principles for development of a Minneapolis campus stadium was then drafted, including usage for both the Gopher football team and related athletic and academic purposes of the University, the principles were soon endorsed by the Board of Regents of the University.
An environmental review of the stadium project examined the impact the development of the proposed stadium facility would have on the environment. It included consideration of traffic and air quality and identified needed environmental remediation for the site. The Board of Regents, acting as the responsible government unit, approved the final environmental impact statement in 2006. A subsequent plan for the cleanup of stadium site was then developed.
The stadium’s open-air horseshoe design allows a capacity of 50,000, which includes general seats and an impressive array of Premium Seating. With sustainability in mind, 97% of the nearly 9,000 tons of steel used in the structure comes from recycled steel. Flexibility was also a key component of the design, with expansion up to 80,000 seats. All those seats are housed in a collegiate look and feel that complement the campus environment, create two landscaped plazas, and accommodate other uses. The total cost was $288.5 million, which included site preparation, the stadium itself, and district improvements.
The improvements are particularly notable. The stadium was part of a 75 acre expansion of the Twin Cities campus—the largest since the West Bank was built in the 1960s. The current plan is to construct as many as 10 new academic buildings by 2015. The Central Corridor light rail transit line, when finished, will run near the stadium, with a station in Stadium Village serving the facility. TCF Bank Stadium is located on the northeast side of the Minneapolis campus, near the site of the former Memorial Stadium. The stadium is bounded by University Avenue, Oak Street, 6th St. S.E. and 23rd Avenue S.E.
Construction of the stadium, which began in July 2007, was completed in summer 2009, in time for kickoff on September 12, 2009.
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