So many movies have been made about the excitement of going from rags to riches. Its only exciting really, if you’ve been forced to wait in rags until it seems almost natural to be in them. Sometimes you’ve been in rags so long you might even begin defending the ugly state your in. The ugly state I’m talking about is the downtown Metrodome and the Gophers can finally stop grinning and bearing it.
This will be a totally new era for the Minnesota Gophers and their fans; and boy do they deserve it. After two decades of having the off- campus hideous Metrodome which seemed so awkward on so many levels (navigating and parking topping the list) they now are blessed with a classically beautiful, borderline opulent stadium that has been designed in such a way that you could almost feel a tinge of resent toward these Gophers. In case you do, rest assured, it passes.
And maybe what helps it pass is the realization of how much the Gophers deserved this stadium and how much this stadium is so much more than a stadium. The sheer forethought alone that went into every detail of construction makes this infrastructure somehow more special like it was built with an instant heritage, a story. Stadium designer Jeff Spear and Coach Brewster really thought about the purpose of this stadium beyond the More Factor- more seating, more fans, more tickets, more money; more, more more. This stadium was built for a purpose; the team for starters, the team most importantly. What seemed to be in mind, was the goal of unifying, and tearing down at the same time. Building cohesion while not allowing the natural separation that can naturally take place when teams have money to build individual spaces for players. This stadium was designed to never be a fertile ground for cliques; not even a chance to take root. The locker rooms were laid out to keep an open feel instead of compartmentalizing positions and offense and defense. And then there are architectural details that only the team will enjoy, like the illuminated giant M on the ceiling of the locker room that was put there to bring excitement to the players.
The gift this stadium gives to its fans goes beyond more room. There is, of course, the amazing view of the Minneapolis skyline, and the ability to park and get in the stadium in less than twenty minutes. And if you’re a prospective recruit; just travel down your own secret entrance where there you’ll end up in a huge lounge with cozy couches. The concourses are wide making it easy for fans to navigate through to their seats. Once seated you’ll enjoy the game from the main HD video board by Daktronics, which says this video board is the third largest in college football. Daktronics ProAd® LED ribbon displays are also installed along the fascia of both sidelines, revealing game information and up to the second player statistics, and all sorts of video animation to keep the crowd enthusiastic, though I doubt the crowd will need much help.
So much thought was put into this stadium, even the skeletal construction. 8, 800 tons of steel- and 97% of it was recycled. And the first brick put down on the stadium was laid by Hilding Mortenson who was a brick layer and worked on the Memorial Stadium in 1924. He is now 100 years old.We were very excited to be a part of the making of the TCF Bank Stadium. As our field paddingwas being installed, I felt the excitement of sharing in the moment of yet another dream held by thousands of people; become a reality. I was amazed at the many hats that Scott Amundson of Mortenson Construction wore while staying calm cool and collected the entire time. I’d like to thank Scott for giving my sons and I tickets to the opening scrimmage. The highlight of the experience though was to see the sheer excitement on the alumni’s faces as they saw the stadium for the first time. I felt like I was in a MasterCard Commercial because that was priceless.