As workers continue to prep the Metrodome for destruction and as construction workers poured the first concrete of the new Vikings stadium, I felt like it was time to dig deep to find out how this multi-purpose facility will serve fans with disabilities. Via e-mail, Jennifer Hathaway of Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) said that the MSFA has been working with an accessibility committee since this past spring. Below are the key ADA features of our newest sports complex that will be ready for use in downtown Minneapolis in 31 months.
Features for people with physical disabilities: First and most importantly, the facility will feature more than 650 wheelchair spaces (includes companion spaces) and 16 elevators. The stadium will also have one interior pedestrian ramp. All entry gates will have wheelchair access. The ticket booths and concessions will be at an accessible height of 34 inches. The stadium will have accessible short-term parking use when purchasing tickets or shopping at the team store. The complex will have charging stations at each ADA location and 12 accessible unisex restrooms.
Features for people with visual and hearing disabilities: Assistive listening devices will be made available at each ticket window and will amplify the announcements at the stadium for the hearing impaired. All room and directional signage will have braille. Moreover, ribbon boards will provide closed-captioning and elevators will have controls providing braille/raised characters. Elevators also will have audible signals.
Most of these features go beyond the accessibility of the 2010 ADA standards and the Minnesota Building Code, which is good news. Plus, this stadium will have more than three times as many wheelchair seats than the Dome had. I feel confident about the facility’s accessibility, too, because Mortenson Construction built Target Field, which has proven to be truly accessible.
Written by: Michael L. Sack