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Vikings Meet With Bird Advocates, 3M, On Bird-Safe Glass

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The new Vikings stadium has 200,000 square feet of glass as part of its iconic design.

Glass fabrication is well under way, with installation beginning in February.

But officials overseeing construction of the billion-dollar facility met last week with bird advocates and the Vikings at 3M headquarters in Maplewood, telling lawmakers they asked the company if it could develop a new 3M adhesive film to cover the glass.

"I'm obviously encouraged at the admission that there is a problem," said State Rep. Phyllis Kahn. "I think that just talking about it is a big step forward from what we've seen before, which was flat denial."

The Sports Authority says it may agree to participate in a study -- with the owners of other downtown buildings -- to test the new invisible-to-the-eye film.

But bird-safety advocates continue to push for fritted glass panes, similar to the glass recently retrofitted on the Jacob Javits Center in New York. It reportedly resulted in a drop in bird collisions.

They say discussions are "positive," but they're not ready to endorse any glass fix.

"So we know that that fritted glass works. We are not sure yet about the other treatment the 3M product because we don't know what it is yet," said Lisa Venable of Minnesota Citizens for the Protection of Migratory Birds. "We can't give our stamp of approval until we have the facts."

The stadium's design has not changed, and the clear glass will be installed on the facility as planned. And there's no timetable for when -- or if -- the new 3M film is developed.

The Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority says glass production began last August, and it is probably too late to change now.

The fritted glass would cost $1.7 million. But more importantly, the Vikings say it would change the entire stadium design, which is meant to be filled with outside light.

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