On December 16th the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission director of facilities and engineering Steve Maki agreed to answer some questions I had surrounding the collapse of the Metrodome’s roof. So, I sent him the following questions:
What is the latest status of the Metrodome? Is the facility’s availability for the 2011 NFL season at all in question?
Prior to the 2010 NFL season, new turf was installed on the playing surface inside the Metrodome. Has the new turf been damaged by the event?
On that Saturday evening, you were quoted by local media as having said there was “no structural issue occurring” at the Metrodome. With the roof collapsing early the next morning, what changed?
This saga is essentially the NFL’s biggest inconvenience in regards to scheduling games. However, with the collapse occurring only hours before a sold out game was scheduled, do you consider yourself lucky that we are not instead discussing injuries to people inside the building?
To date, do you know if anyone has planned an official and public investigation into the causes of the collapse?
It has been widely reported that your crew used hot water and high indoor temperatures as an attempt to melt the snow. Due to high winds, you then abandoned snow removal efforts on the evening before the collapse. Do you think that the added water, perhaps saturating the existing snow and not allowing the winds to blow it off the roof, only compounded the snow loading situation?
I have seen reports that your crew consisted of about seven people that are paid 2.5 times their normal wage when on the roof. With this storm being forecasted days in advance, was there ever any consideration to hiring a higher number of qualified snow movers to aid in the efforts? Was cost a consideration for not doing so?
Your organization has pretty adamantly defended the Metrodome’s long term ability to house a modern NFL team. As an engineer, and given the impact of recent events, do you believe the Metrodome is an acceptable NFL stadium beyond 2011?
The Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission’s head, Roy Terwilliger, was quoted as saying the organization was not too concerned about the financial fallout of this event event because, “We have business interruption insurance.” To your knowledge, will this insurance policy do anything to help the fans that spent a lot of money to travel and attend these games and had to eat the costs? If not, is the MSFC reaching out to these fans in any way?
Over the last two weeks, is there anything that you wish you would have done differently? In hindsight, is there anything that could have prevented this event from taking place?
After waiting patiently for 11 days, I sent a follow up email to Mr. Maki, seeing if he was still willing to answer them. After all, none of these questions have really been answered publically since the event took place.
Mr. Maki didn’t answer any of the questions and simply responded, “we are currently in an assessment phase of checking building and structural systems.” He also said that the MSFC would be sure to keep Vikings Gab updated.
While I appreciate his response and understand his position, the response did little to answer questions about how and why the collapse of the roof took place. I still stand by my opinion that some sort of investigation needs to take place as to why the event occurred, and that Zygi Wilf should not agree to play in the Metrodome in 2011 until all causes are known, and a plan to keep this from happening again is in place.