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The new Vikings Stadium, seen here in an engineer’s rendering, will feature a modern design with large glass panels. It is being built in downtown Minneapolis and will open in 2016. Forum News Service

Making Minnesota history: Perham grad playing key role in new Vikings Stadium

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A Perham graduate is playing a major role in the construction of the new Vikings Stadium.

It’s the largest construction project in Minnesota history, and at its center is Carolyn Wolf, a 2000 Perham High School graduate. Now a project manager at Mortenson Construction, Wolf serves as a key link between the work being done on site and the stadium’s owners.

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Mortenson is the contracted construction manager of the project.

When it’s complete, the $975 million multi-purpose stadium “will be a monumental piece of the Minneapolis skyline and a piece of Minnesota’s history,” Wolf said in an email interview with the Focus, adding that she’s proud to be a part of it.

As a project manager, Wolf’s main role is to oversee the construction schedule, budget and internal staff. She directs subcontractors and suppliers on when to order materials and show up at the construction site, and she monitors their schedules and any cost concerns. She also communicates regularly with the owners and the design team, relaying any project updates or design issues.

Though Wolf has never before been involved with a project of this magnitude, she’s no stranger to commercial construction.

Prior to the Vikings Stadium, she’s worked with Mortenson on the addition to Minnesota Public Radio in 2006, the construction of the new Amsoil Arena in Duluth in 2010, and the Radisson Blu at the Mall of America in 2012.

Wolf has been working with Mortenson since 2005, right after graduating from North Dakota State University with a degree in construction engineering.

The daughter of Fred and Sue Sailer, of Perham, Wolf said it was her dad who piqued her interest in construction.

Fred Sailer was heavily involved with the construction of the new Prairie Wind Middle School in Perham, and Wolf said, “I remember touring the job site with my dad on a weekly basis. The project manager at the time gave me my own hard hat and vest, making me think that I ran the place!”

Those happy memories stayed with her and, though at one point she seriously considered becoming a pharmacist, in the end, she followed her heart into the construction field.

Growing up in Perham, she added, “taught me a good work ethic and how to think outside the box.”

Today, Wolf lives in Savage, Minn., with her husband, Mike, who also works in commercial construction, and their two daughters, 2-year-old Addison and 10-week-old Harper. They visit Perham as often as possible.

The new Vikings Stadium will replace the 31-year-old Metrodome in Minneapolis, which was demolished following the 2013 football season. The new facility is being built on the Metrodome site, but will be nearly twice as big.

Ground broke on the project on Dec. 3, 2013. An estimated 7,500 workers will put in roughly 4.25 million work hours before it’s all said and done. Construction is well under way today; the completion date has been set for July 2016.

Described simply as “wow!” in a Forum News Service editorial from May 2013, the new stadium will have an impressive and modern look, featuring a translucent roof to let in the sunshine, a slick glass and stone exterior, and giant pivoting glass doors that will open to downtown Minneapolis.

The facility will seat 65,000 at football games and 73,000 for other events, such as concerts, baseball games, hockey tournaments and more. It will boast seven levels, wider concourses than the Metrodome, and multiple connections to the downtown skyway system.

The attractive design has already put Minneapolis in the running as a possible host of the 2018 Super Bowl. Other cities in the mix are Indianapolis and New Orleans. League owners are expected to announce their final pick next month.

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Marie Johnson
Marie Johnson (formerly Nitke) came to the Perham Focus after several years as the Education and Arts & Entertainment Editor at the Herald-Review of Grand Rapids, Minn. She lives in rural Ottertail with her husband, Dan, and their spunky yellow lab, Louisa.
(218) 346-5900 x228
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