With the recent passage of an essential bill through the Minnesota legislature, most of the groundwork is in place for construction to move forward on a new home for MNUFC in the Midway neighborhood of Saint Paul. Here’s the most up-to-date timeline for future progress, subject — as always — to change:
- Early summer 2017: Groundbreaking
- Late winter 2018: Structural steel complete
- Fall 2018: Envelope (outer structure) complete
- Spring 2019: Opening
A number of elements are going to make this one of the best and most intimate soccer venues anywhere. The 360-degree canopy protects 85% of the roughly 19,600 seats from inclement weather, plus traps the crowd noise. The closest seat to the pitch is 17 feet away while the farthest is just 125 feet away at the top of an upper bowl with a rake of 33.4 degrees, putting fans directly on top of the action. The safe-standing Supporters Section rakes even more steeply at an angle of 34.75 degrees, creating an imposing wall behind goal.
One of the stadium’s most striking features as a landmark will be the color-changing LEDs that encircle the building. These LEDs will be programmable, with the capability to change color, intensity and patterning to reflect holidays and events inside or outside of the stadium.
Due consideration has been given to environmental concerns, both in terms of the pitch itself and the building as a whole. A hydronic heating system can “wake up” the grass in the early spring and also keep it cool via air circulation in the summer, while a comprehensive drainage system maximizes the re-use of stormwater and minimizes discharge. The building has been designed to be bird-safe and energy efficient, with plans for a 1.5 acre greenspace north of the stadium across Shields Avenue, which will be extended to run in front of the building.