MINNEAPOLIS-In an attempt to keep the Minnesota Vikings football franchise in the city, the Metropolitan Sports Facilities Commission is moving forward on a stadium reconstruction project. The commission has selected a proposal from Dallas-based HKS Inc. and locally-based Mortenson Construction for the redevelopment of the current Metrodome, now shared by the Vikings and the Minnesota Twins baseball team.

The cost for the reconstruction project, which would add a retractable roof to the closed dome in the Downtown, is now known yet, according to the commission. Steve Maki, director of facilities and engineering for the commission, tells that he’s thrown out the figure of $800 million, but “that’s just a guess.” He says he’s seen numbers that include $954 million and $850 million. “I think we’re expecting it to be north of $800 million, but we don’t know what it’s going to cost. It’s dependent on the new design,” Maki says.

The commission said in a statement that it expects to have a design and a price by March 2009, with a goal to have the reconstructed stadium completed by 2012. “The Vikings’ use agreement expires after the 2011 season, and our goal is to retain the team for the long term, so we hope to have something by then. That doesn’t mean we couldn’t sign a year-to-year lease, as long as things were moving forward,” Maki says.

The Twins are leaving to their own $522 million new ballpark by 2010, to get away from playing baseball in a corner of the football field, a spokesman has told There was talk of the Vikings leaving for a proposed new $800 million stadium in Los Angeles, and Minnesota has had other problems to worry about, including the bridge collapse about a mile away from the current stadium, built in 1982 for $55 million.

Maki tells that some funding would likely come from the Vikings. The commission will look to see what can be reused of the current Metrodome, to save as much money as possible. The commission will likely have to seek help from the state legislature for financing if the reconstruction plan can be carried out.