U-M needs to do a better job with safety during Crisler Arena renovations
On Thursday (Dec. 23), I attended my first men's basketball game of this year's season. Michigan played Bradley. Michigan won! The arena was almost full. It was a great game, the crowd had fun and almost everyone stayed to the end. The new scoreboards are wonderful and the seating is, after years of springs in my backside, comfortable.
However alterations are continuing. Doors have been boarded over. For the entire south and west sides there is only one exit and that exit leads to a wooden stairway (where people are forced to move slowly and carefully). On the east side an exit has been removed to accommodate the new practice/recruiting facility. At the end of the game the crowd was totally gridlocked for fifteen minutes. For 15 minutes, we stood tightly packed in the outer rim hallway without moving at all. Total gridlock.
What would have happened if there was a fire? Is this a disaster waiting to happen? Should we be taking a gamble that there will be no fire?
U-M can do better. During this construction phase, the flow could be one-way after the game. All vendors could be shut down a few minutes before the end of the game. Another south end stairway could be added. Dr. Coleman, Mr. Brandon, if there was a fire or a panic, the liability you are exposing U of M to could bankrupt our wonderful institution. People are being put at risk. Please, act now. Fix the inadequate egress before anything terrible happens.