DEFLATE THE DOME: Roof to come down on Saturday - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

DEFLATE THE DOME: Roof to come down on Saturday

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It's been a fixture of the Minneapolis skyline for the past 32 years, but this weekend will change the way people see the city as crews begin to deflate the Metrodome roof before demolition starts.

It didn't take long for crews to start taking down bits and pieces. In fact, demolition crews got to work just one day after the last Vikings game. Soon, however, the progress will be much more noticeable.

Unlike an implosion of a hotel, there won't be much fanfare as the dome is disassembled. In fact, it may not even be noticeable to the naked eye.

When asked how long it will take for the roof to come down, crews honestly replied that they don't know since it's never been done -- on purpose -- before.

The iconic stadium was first inflated on Oct. 2, 1981. Since then, it's hosted everything from monster truck shows to two World Series championships. Yet, in an area of planned obsolescence, it may have outlived its useful life. The first sign came that fateful Sunday morning when the massive Teflon and fiberglass roof collapsed under 17 inches of snow.

Yet, before the Vikings can call a shiny new stadium home, the Metrodome must be taken apart. For weeks, crews have been disassembling kitchens and chairs. The seats are being sold -- some to fans, and others will find new lives in high schools and college stadiums. Even the turf has been re-purposed.

In fact, 90 percent of everything inside the Metrodome -- including concrete, the roof and equipment -- is being reused or recycled; however, crews can't start to bring down the concrete structure until the dome itself is deflated.

For decades, someone in the operations center at the stadium has monitored all the gauges to keep the pressure difference consistent between the inside and outside of the Dome. On Saturday, that will change. They'll simply open all the doors and let the bubble deflate.

Over the next few weeks, crews will prepare for concrete demolition -- and that's when Minnesotans will finally see that the days of the dome are gone.

The schedule on Saturday has no specific time and it is weather dependent. While the original roof fabric that came down in the snow storm was sold for souvenirs, the $24-million replacement will be turned into tarps that will become property of the demolition company.

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