For months, it’s been a curious footnote to the new Vikings stadium: The venue, which will include extensive amounts of glass, could pose a lethal hazard to birds that fly into it.
The issue has lingered, with those hoping to protect the birds agitating for a design change. The controversy has now gained considerable traction, to the point where the folks responsible for building the stadium have decided to comment on what it would cost to make the place bird-safe.
Via the Associated Press, the chairperson of the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority claims that it could cost more than $60 million to use fritted glass, which would be easier for birds to avoid. Michele Kelm-Helgen also said that the project could be delayed long enough to force the Vikings to spend a third season outdoors at the University of Minnesota.
Bird advocates, who surely believe the costs and delays are being overstated to justify not making the change, claim it would cost only $1 million to switch to fritted glass.
Local manufacturing firm 3M has developed several different films that could deter birds from flying into the glass. Testing will occur in conjunction with the University of Minnesota; however, the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority has not committed to adopting that approach.
The challenge continues to be balancing aesthetics and efficiency with bird safety. But even if it’s ultimately determined that creatures dumb enough to fly into glass don’t merit the expense or the concern, the possibility of a bird splatting into the side of the structure, plunging toward a crowd trying to get inside the building, and eventually becoming impaled on the horns of Helga hat probably won’t be good for business.