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Posted on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 5:13 p.m.

U-M Regents approve $52 million renovation of Crisler Arena, new scoreboards at Michigan Stadium

By David Jesse

The University of Michigan Board of Regents approved a major renovation of Crisler Arena at its meeting today.

The project will add 63,000 square feet to the arena and create new spectator entrances, retail spaces, ticketing areas and a private club space. It will cost $52 million, said Timothy Slottow, the university’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.

In addition to the Crisler Arena renovation, the regents also approved new high-definition video scoreboards at Michigan Stadium, Crisler Arena and Yost Ice Arena.

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A major renovation is planned for Crisler Arena.

The boards will be installed in each venue before the 2011-12 season. It will cost about $20 million to install them in all three places.

The Board of Regents already approved a renovation of the arena’s core, including its spectator seating, last October.

“The renovations will take our classic facility and make it a first-class, modern venue that will be among the best in the country,” Athletic Director Dave Brandon said in a statement. “Our goal is to create a home court advantage for our teams while making the fan experience memorable from the moment they walk into the arena.”

The department said the renovation would also improve seating for people with disabilities.

The expansion will also increase the space in the fan concourses and allow for an increase in restrooms, concessions and other fan amenities, the department said in a press release.

The athletic department is paying for the renovation out of its budget and gifts.

No construction schedule has yet been set.

TMP Architecture, assisted by Sink Combs Dethlefs, will begin the design work immediately. The two firms designed the basketball player development center, which is currently under construction.

David Jesse covers higher education for He can be reached at or at 734-623-2534.


Blu n Tpa

Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

Where is the money going to? Workers will have jobs, they can buy food, pay for housing, and provide for their families. This is a public works project with using tax papers money. This money wouldn't be there if it wasn't for fans supporting Michigan sports. Chicken and the egg. How much money does EMU make/spend on their programs and how would you rate their facilities compared to UM? Please this is not Utopia, it's Ann Arbor.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 5:42 p.m.

i find it very annoying that people continuously think that money spent on sports is taking away funds that could otherwise be spent on general academics.

Ron Granger

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

One of the things I love about seeing a game at Crisler is NOT having the constant tasteless assault of flashing lights and advertising. Those old school scoreboards are Just Fine. I prefer them. It's about the players and the game, not about the latest fangled flashing lights and selling advertising. Don't make Crisler look like a vegas casino, or trash places like the Palace. Will any of these flashing billboards be outside the stadiums, in violation of local community standards and ordinances? The Regents have already shown they don't care about local community standards, laws, or taste. There was a time when Michigan Stadium was a quiet giant, an architectural marvel that blended into the local community, a good neighbor. Now it is a gaudy eyesore and a monument to the profit motive that pervades college athletics. And, worse, it looks just like Ohio State stadium. I guess taste and community standards have little role at the "new" U of M.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 3:44 p.m.

Will future Concerts be held here also? I went to many back in the mid 70's - Alice Cooper & Doobie Brothers to name a few. Great acoustics then and much closer for us folks who don't want to drive to Pontiac! Hope they consider this.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 3:26 p.m.

Why can't people just be excited about the renovations instead of crying about how the money could be spent on other things? I can't wait to go to a game after this is finished! Go Blue!!!!!


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

That is what can be done when the University of Michigan does not ever pay property taxes and they over pay some people, they have too much money extra and do not know what to do with it. This is so sad that they would waste money for something like this. Maybe they will name it after the wonderful President Betty Sue

Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 2 p.m.

The Onion might state: U of M - at the surprise of everyone - decided to lower tution for 30,000 students by $1000/year over 5 years, costing 150 million dollars - the Regents agreed to the deal stating "the State of Michigan is almost punch-drunk from this economy - we thought we would lower prices" - in other U of M news - Stadium Sky seats at the Big House are now made of baby seal skin ear flaps - the softest seal leather available. "Sports drives education" - said the Regents.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:47 p.m.

I guess we need a bigger scoreboard to see more clearly how badly we lose.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:46 p.m.

@ mmppcc, I totally agree. This 52 million dollar renovation is seriously demented and clearly illustrates that they, the University, have their priorities in the wrong place. Furthermore, I challenge the University to fix State Street and the bridge as part of the renovation project and to give back to the community for the years of snarling traffic. From what the article states, it sounds like that old parking lot next to Crisler Arena will be turned into a Michigan Mall.

Blu n Tpa

Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 1:02 p.m.

Bill and mmppcc. Right. I need a new swimming pool at my house but am short of funds. How about I take your money, money you saved for a new car, and fix my hole in the ground? What, it's not my money, it yours? "Give back to the community"? I'm sure you are aware of what AA would be without the University of Michigan and the fans who come from all over to watch sports there. Must of been a loooong winter up there. Michigan Mall? You mean a cash cow to make more money from the 'mindless masses'? TiM Go Blue!


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:40 p.m.

Agree with mbill. It's great to renovate Michigan Stadium and Crisler Arena but the Stadium Street bridge is a disaster waiting to happen. Why can't the University and City of Ann Arbor get together and work out a plan to fix or replace this crumbling bridge? What good are beautiful sports venues if no one can get to them because the major road leading to these sites is closed when the bridge finally gets too dangerous for auto or foot traffic?

Steve Hendel

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 11:46 a.m.

@A2Reality: let's remind ourselves that the Athletic Department is in fact part of the U of M, so that just because they generate revenues for the University does not give them a blank check in spending them. The Regents and President Coleman (and past Presidents) have elected to function essentlally as rubber stamps for the Athletic Department; if you doubt that, look at how they acted during the mess surrounding the hiring of RR as coach. But this is not the way it has to be. The Regents could, if they wished, exercise the same level of control over the Athletic Department as they do over all other units of the University; this might have the salutary effect of reminding people that the prime missions of the UM are teaching and research. Also, I don't know if it is true that all these Athletic Department projects are fully funded by gifts, grants or additional revenues. We have yet to learn, for instance, what portion of the renovated football stadium's luxury seats and suites were actually rented at full price this past gear. Did any of the people who put down deposits forfeit them rather than rent the facility?


Sat, Jan 22, 2011 : 1:54 a.m.

@Steve Hendel - I don't think that you have any real understanding of how the budget for the athletic department works. You state that you "don't know if it is true that all these Athletic Department projects are fully funded by gifts, grants or additional revenue." There's an easy solution to that, go review the budget for the athletic department. Review the P&L and Balance Sheet. It is true. As mentioned in the other reply, what does it matter at what price each luxury suite was rented? It's about money in vs. money out. Michigan's athletic budget operates in the black and is one of the very few in the country to do so. I think that you are grossly overlooking the positive effect on the Michigan brand that the sports programs provide. The great brand helps the prestige which attracts better faculty and more donations for research. Additionally, the athletic department pays for the scholarships of its student-athletes. This is often not the case at major institutions. Many of these student-athletes wouldn't have an opportunity to benefit from the teaching and research opportunities if not for sports. Lastly, please don't belittle the cornerstone that the sports programs offer to the social activities of the students. I think that you are forgetting that it is not solely academics that construct a great education.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:34 p.m.

You obviosuly have no clue as to how any organization is run. Do you think the CEO of Ford Motor Company (similar position as Mary Sue) is telling Ford Credit how to do their job? He hires quality people to do the detail work, and he gets an executive summary. The CEO and board then can ask questions and decide yes or no. It does not matter how many suites were rented out at what price. The dollars coming in is more than the dollars going out. The athletic department actually pays tuition and room and board for scholarship athletes out of their budget. The athletic department actually funds education and research more than the other way around. I wonder if you think the Board should be involved in the hiring of a LSA professor. How about a nurse at UM hospital? How about an administrative assistant? If that is what you want, nothing will ever get done.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 8:04 a.m.

Maybe they could use some of that money to upgrade the head basketball coach. He isnt getting it done,personally he should have been dismissed after last season.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 5:45 a.m.

The athletic department help pay for those big screens by having Big Movie at the Big House nights.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 4:13 a.m.

Sweet, very sweet. And the graduation rate for Michigan football players is what pray tell ? Without looking it up I am going to guess 61%. All this money spent for entertaining the masses when the students don't pass their classes ! Good Day No Luck Needed

Marshall Applewhite

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

I'm not sure what the actual numbers are either, but instead of just throwing numbers out there, maybe you should figure out what actually are.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 4:16 a.m.

Oops, am I a dummy or what, we are talking basketball. I think their graduation rate is even lower than the football teams ? At least the football team has had a winning record more recently in the Big Ten.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 3:17 a.m.

It's not 20 million for one screen at Michigan Stadium, it's 20 million for screens at Michigan Stadium, Crisler, and Yost (and I would imagine multiple screens at each location).


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 2:35 a.m.

20 million on a new screen in the stadium? What in the world? I think that football is awesome, and I am a big fan and supporter, but how much more money do we have to spend in this sport while continuing to raise tuition, etc? I know it's a different pool of money, (no flaming please), but the priorities seem so way out of whack. I personally don't even like the existing screen and wish to dumb it down back to the old scoreboards--while I may be called a dinosaur, it was a simpler and purer atmosphere. (PS I also dislike the piped in music, which commercializes the atmosphere away from the marching band, a real jewel).


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

OK now, you have to go back to the article and reread it. The $20M is for Michigan Stadium, Crisler Arena and Yost Ice Arena. As far as going back to the dark ages "with a simpler and purer atmosphere" you would have plenty of seating room as we would not be competitive in drawing first class athletes. These kids are impressed and influenced by the quality of the facilities are part of the campus. Crisler arena, for example, is way outdated and because of this it is a major contributing factor in our inability to lure the elite athletes. If you don't believe it, check out the OSU and MSU facilities.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:41 a.m.

81 Wolv, You forgot about tennis.

Chase Ingersoll

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:41 a.m.

Inside Chrisler and Yost, why can't a a high power LCD projector system be used instead of LCD screens. I would think you could have the same visual effect for a much lower cost? I'm no engineer, but I just extrapolate the various performance points and costs of consumer technology and it would seem to be the same.

Marshall Applewhite

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:22 p.m.

I'm curious, how do you even think they'd implement such a system?

Hot Sam

Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1 p.m.

Chase...when you get to this size of a screen, the price difference is not as dramatic, and the panels have much more ability to deal with changing light conditions.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:26 a.m.

People do realize that the funding for this comes SOLELY out of the athletic department from its self-funded budget and gifts... right? It is stated in the story. The budget for the university's classes and research is unaffected. I'm sure that the university is accepting gifts and donations for research and academic pursuits; if you would like to see money spent specifically toward those endeavors then perhaps you could earmark money for those purposes.

Blu n Tpa

Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 12:49 p.m.

A2 I don't think so. You only get the point of the story if you read it. Some people feel the money would magically be spent on other projects, like streets, bridges, water, ...if it wasn't spent on sports. That's call diversion and it's against the law. Just a small road block there. (pun intended)


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:10 a.m.

I missed the part about a new coach to actually put a competitive team inside of Crisler Arena! Hopefully that will happen soon. Be ashamed to have such nice facilities and no one watching the games inside.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 12:25 a.m.

Good news and long overdue. However, this project is about 10 years overdue IMO. Between this and a lack of a basketball practice facility, we've been at a recruiting disadvantage for a long time in basketball. I don't quite understand why our basketball facility improvements were put last on the list. Not to downplay the importance of any other sport at U-M, but it's strange that women's softball, men's baseball, soccer, wrestling, and gymnastics have all had new facilites built before the 2nd major revenue producing sport - Men's basketball - will see upgraded facilities. Interesting priorities.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 11:58 p.m.

Will the board spend a fraction on Stadium Blvd.? How long before the bridge collapses? Will the contractors be allowed to overload the bridge again?

Blu n Tpa

Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

Wow, can I go to the MDOT to complain about last years' special teams? If you live there, and vote, call the responsible governmental agency. And, if you don't, STOP!


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 11:23 p.m.

Geez renovated stadium, recycled coach, scoreboards geez now all we have to do is field a team. Did I say that's all?


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 4:20 a.m.

Haven't fielded a team in three years! Now is a great time to start. Go Blue For Life.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:35 a.m.

Our football team has been down for 3 years.Like theo you need to let it go. dont be a hater go blue.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 11:41 p.m.

Ahem, the hockey team and their coach are very respectable and have been for many, many years.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 11:13 p.m.

What isn't mentioned among the original expenditures is a pricey cult deprogramming program for Theo. However, the good news is that after conferring with the board of regents, we agreed that this forum is an excellent (and free) alternative to help ease Theo off from the RR kool aid (milk) bottle.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 10:59 p.m.

I just wonder when the University of Michigan is going to stop offering all those ridiculous classes and wasting time and money on all that nonsensical resaearch. It's really getting in the way of their primary mission of offering sporting events for the mindless masses.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:25 p.m.

Since this has nothing to do with University money, it is all athletic department money, I don't see why the snide comment. If you do nto think the U spends money and time on research and classroom issues, than you just arent paying attention. I could point out the North Quad, and the life sciences building as two major examples of construction projects done to help improve research and education. The whole investment in the old Pfizer campus would be another.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 11:07 p.m.

@mmppcc that's a question that I can easily answer for you, when hell freezes over.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 10:57 p.m.

I think they should really build a new arena, but this is better than nothing. I guess it is still the house that Cazzie built.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 10:54 p.m.

Never been to Crisler...looks like I need to go to a game so I can appreciate the renovations.


Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:11 a.m.

Take in a women's game. Cheaper and a more competitve team


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 11:19 p.m.

@michboy40 you should probably wait until they finish the renovations.


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 10:51 p.m.

Concerts? I didn't see anything about concerts.

1st Down

Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 10:44 p.m.

Sweet! King-sized boards to watch Hokemania thumpin down on our opponents!


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

How about their share of aafd costs?


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 10:30 p.m.

It's about time! Go Blue!


Thu, Jan 20, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.



Fri, Jan 21, 2011 : 1:51 p.m.

Could you elaborate? Or do you just have a sweet tooth?