Serigraphics Makes TCF Bank Stadium Handsome Burrow for UM's Gridiron Gophers

Diverse sign package celebrates program's move back to on-campus stadium
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After decades of having played its home football games at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, University of Minnesota officials decided to create a stronger identity for the program by building an on-campus stadium. After an agreement was reached on the state and the University’s joint funding of the $288.5 million project, construction began, and the TCF Bank Stadium (a regional financial institution that contributed to its construction through a 25-year, naming-rights deal) was born. The stadium’s current capacity is 50,805, but its footprint allows eventual expansion to seating for approximately 80,000.
Serigraphics Sign Systems, the Minneapolis-based sign manufacturer that won the competitive bid, engineered, fabricated and installed the project’s approximately 40 unique sign types. Adam Halverson, the shop’s CEO/president, said roughly 15% of its work comprises stadia signage. Serigraphics teamed with Populous, a Kansas City-based stadium and public-space architectural firm, and Larsen Design, a Minneapolis-based marketing and branding firm. The shop worked directly for general contractor Mortenson Construction.
“The biggest challenge to the job was that Minnesota has only two seasons: winter and road construction,” Halverson quipped. “So, because the timeframe for laying foundations is limited, project timelines must be met.”
The project entailed a diverse array of graphic solutions. Because of Minnesota’s volatile climate, Rodriguez said educating the customer about material durability was essential. For the “front porch” in the stadium’s concourse, the shop built signfaces for eight interpretive panels installed on 22-ft.-tall towers. The panels feature both photos from memorable moments in the program’s history, such as winning the Paul Bunyan Axe after a hard-fought victory over the Univ. of Wisconsin Badgers, as well as descriptive panels that honor John and Jane Mooty, university benefactors for whom the plaza is named. The panels were fabricated using iZone Imaging’s (Temple, TX) digitally printed graphics that receive a weather-resistant, high-pressure-laminate coating.
At the top of the towers, gate-ID letters and the Minnesota logo were fabricated from routed and formed, 0.125-in.-thick, unlit, aluminum channel letters that are layered and secured with custom-engineered mounting brackets designed to withstand high winds and harsh winters.
Serigraphics fabricated and installed the gigantic university and sponsor logo graphics with 3M IJ180Cv3-10 air-release vinyl that’s printed on a Mimaki JV-3 solvent-ink printer and protected with Scotchcal 8519 luster-finish overlaminate. The entrance gates’ flat surfaces were also decorated with similarly produced “M” logos.
For the interior-concourse graphic panels, which depict famous former Gophers, the company contracted panel production to iZone Imaging. Its wayfinding panels comprise an aluminum-tube frame with graphic panels made from ½-in.-thick acrylic that’s stencil-painted and decorated with 3M Controltac vinyl and ½-in.-thick, flat-cut, acrylic letters. The panels were mounted to the frames with double-sided, decorative hardware.
“The design has a timeless feel, and the signage works with the facility’s class architectural style,” Halverson said.