DakotaDome roof will be deflated next April Ken Schmidt, USD's director of planning and construction, discussed the new roof of the DakotaDome at the April 6 meeting of the Vermillion Lions Club.
The current fabric roof of the Dome has already outlived its life expectancy by several years and is no longer considered safe. A new process is being used to determine what the design of the new roof will be and who will build it. The process is called the design build process. At the end of March a "request for statements of interest" was sent out to firms which might be interested in providing design-build services for the new roof.
The request provided some specifications and estimated costs for the project and noted where to obtain further information. Those firms or teams which are interested in submitting a proposal are to respond with preliminary sketches or drawings, information about how the project will be completed and by whom, and how much it will cost.
Schmidt said that it is expected that six to 12 teams will respond and that three to five of them will be asked to submit final plans using additional information that will be supplied to them by the university. These firms will need to include more detailed drawings and statements detailing "what we will get and what it will cost." The final choice will be determined by the evaluation of what is the "best, longest-term, lowest-cost, value-proven solution."
The contract is scheduled to be awarded by July 1 of this year and an outdoor, winter construction site opened to the builder approximately March 1, 2001. Following the 2001 Dan Lennon Relays (approximately April 1, 2001) the Dome will be vacated. Schmidt reported that a "Deflation Party" will be held on April 9, 2001. At that time the fans will be turned off and the fabric roof will collapse.
There are several other renovations planned for the Dome in addition to the new roof. The lighting will be upgraded to meet the minimum standards for NCAA events. The speaker system and the acoustics will be improved, and repairs will be made to the sidewalks. In addition, the design of the new roof may require re-enforcing the existing footings. There is also the possibility that the Dome will be air-conditioned.
Following his presentations, Schmidt answered several questions about the design-build process and the "fate" of other fabric-roof stadiums.