Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon outlines more Crisler Arena renovations
CHICAGO — As the first phase of Crisler Arena renovations begins to take shape this summer, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon is starting to push through the designs for the second phase.
On Thursday, Brandon will present a $52 million plan to the University of Michigan board of regents in Dearborn outlining the construction. He said on Monday at the Big Ten spring meetings that the proposed renovations will make Crisler Arena more fan-friendly.
“It’s just an opportunity to really enhance the opportunity for our fans,” Brandon. “I’m hopeful they are going to respond positively because Crisler is a beloved facility but an old, tired facility and it really needs this level of updating.”
Part of this plan will include a new entrance to the arena and an atrium along with more concessions and a club level.
The project will also create wider concourses, more restrooms and other improvements.
“As part of the current plan, we have points of sale for merchandise, a significant increase in the number of points of sale for food and the concept of kind of a club area where certain patrons can go for a little bit different experience,” Brandon said. “Much like we did for football and (people) can have seats and an area to retire to that will have certain amenities that will make it special.
“Not really suites, more of a club type concept.”
In a recommendation letter to the regents, funding for the project will come from “athletic department resources.”
It is the latest phase in a complete overhaul of Michigan’s basketball facilities. The Player Development Center -- which will house the basketball offices, locker rooms and a practice facility -- is set to open in November.
The first phase of the renovation to Crisler, which largely has to do with infrastructure, is being worked on this summer.
For the past few months, Michigan’s basketball coaches have been working out of temporary trailers -- which they jokingly call “Crisler Estates,” -- overlooking both the construction and Michigan Stadium. And every day as he arrives and leaves work, Michigan coach John Beilein drives by the construction and it serves as a reminder of the future.
“We take kids recruiting and show them, when they see the trailers and the cranes and everything we make it a point to say, ‘Well, Glick Fieldhouse was trailers and cranes just two years ago,’” said Beilein, who is in Chicago for the meetings as well. “When I walked in here, baseball was torn down and softball.
"Every time I’ve seen people build things at Michigan, it was really nice.”
If approved, the letter to the regents said the second phase of Crisler construction would be finished in the winter of 2014.