The newest addition to the Twin Cities skyline is taking shape in downtown Minneapolis. Towering construction cranes have been masterfully shaping the clear roof atop US Bank Stadium, the new home of the Minnesota Vikings. LeJeune Steel Company (LSC) is feeding this building bonanza with a team of some 400 steel fabricators and welders working on the Vikings stadium project.
Raise the Roof
LeJeune – one of the foremost steel fabrication companies in the country – is responsible for the steel work in this billion dollar construction project. The prime focus is building the roof, which requires 11,000 tons of steel – all fabricated by LeJeune.
Overseeing the process is project manager Rick Torborg, a 10-year industry veteran. He says the logistics are challenging and the structure is extremely complex. “We set up a schedule that we could meet and we fabricated the steel with such precision that it all fit together without any delays or hiccups,” he says.
The Royal Treatment
Among the jaw-dropping pieces of the LeJeune work are the 11 so-called queen’s post trusses that frame the roof. This north-south configuration supports the roof’s metal decking and unusual glasslike Ethylene ETFE Polymer material that will actually cover the field at US Bank Stadium.
With each piece weighing 280,000 pounds or more, measuring 190-feet long, 13-feet wide, and 62-feet tall, proper fabrication took a combination of exceptional skill and high technology. “We modeled everything in a 3D model and then we converted them to 2D and 3D blueprints on the IPAD’s used by fitter welders in our shop,” says Torborg. “If there’s an issue onsite, you can go directly to the model and look at it with the guys onsite and see how we can resolve it.”
The LeJeune team took the steel in the shape of raw plates and pieces into their shops, welded them, punched the holes, painted and sent them to the site where they were assembled into the structure. Torborg says a critical consideration involved the tolerances and quality of fabrication. That is a point of pride for LeJeune, which fabricates some 40,000 tons of steel each year in its Minnesota and Wisconsin facilities.
There are more than 1,200 men and women from dozens of companies at the Viking Stadium project worksite, erecting a 1,750,000 square foot facility – almost double the size of the Mall of America. The roof, built by LeJeune, helps define this state-of-the-art building.
An All-Star Team
Torborg says the work of LeJeune fitter welder teams is nothing short of impressive. “I’m always amazed by how much skill it takes in each of our shops to get it done, and the level of involvement by our shop guys.” They set an example for the company, which is always searching for the next generation of talented fitter welders.
Upon completion of the roof, the towering cranes will be dismantled and sent off as they came – in 70 truckloads – and LeJeune teams will have essentially finished their handcrafted portion of the Vikings Stadium project, but the design and their handiwork will hold its prominent place in the Minneapolis skyline for decades to come.
LeJeune did the same stellar work for TCF Bank Stadium, where the University of Minnesota Golden Gopher football team plays. They also worked on Target Field, home of the Minnesota Twins. So when the Vikings start playing here at US Bank Stadium in 2016, don’t just look at the quality, talent and teamwork on the field, look above it as well.
For more than 70 years, LeJeune Steel has been an industry leader in steel fabrication. Since 1944, we have grown to become one of the largest structural steel fabricators in the Midwest, with more than 40,000 tons of steel fabricated annually by our shops in Minnesota and Wisconsin.