See more of the story

So much for border battles.

The public board teaming with the Minnesota Vikings to build a nearly $1 billion downtown Minneapolis stadium turned to a Wisconsin firm Friday to bird-dog construction.

Hammes Co., based in Madison, was selected by the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority from more than a dozen applicants to serve as the authority's owner's representative on the project.

In that role, Hammes will help oversee project design and development, making sure the authority's -- and the public's -- best interests are represented at every turn.

Hammes has served a similar role in the construction or renovation of several NFL stadiums over the past decade, including the $1.6 billion MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., which opened in 2010 as the home for the New York Giants and New York Jets.

The firm also was involved in the $430 million Ford Field development in Detroit, home of the Detroit Lions, and the expansion and renovation of Lambeau Field in Green Bay, home of the Green Bay Packers.

Hammes has pledged to commit 45,000 work hours to the Minneapolis project at a cost not to exceed $7.8 million.

Scott Stenman, who was Hammes' point man on Ford Field and was on site daily, will serve as the firm's project director for the Vikings development. Stenman also worked the Lambeau Field renovation.

Stenman's primary responsibilities will be to help keep the project on schedule and on budget. He will work on site with Jim Cima, who will serve as the team's senior project manager. Cima served similar roles in the building of an NHL arena for the New Jersey Devils and a NFL stadium for the Philadelphia Eagles.

"He'll be our eyes and ears on the project," said Jeff Anderson, a Vikings spokesman.

Stenman and Cima begin work immediately.

The five-member stadium authority is the public watchdog on the $975 million development, which will receive nearly $500 million in public financing.

The stadium, to be built on the Metrodome site, will seat 65,000 people, but could be expanded to accommodate 72,000 fans. It is expected to open by the 2016 NFL season.

In other action Friday, the stadium authority hired Kimley-Horn and Associates Inc. to conduct an environmental impact study on the 33-acre stadium site. The firm will be paid no more than $747,096 for work to be completed by July 31, 2013.

Board members also gave the authority staff the go-ahead to solicit bids for architectural services and construction management services before they next meet on Aug. 24.

Richard Meryhew • 612-673-4425