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Posted on Fri, May 25, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Crisler Center renovations on schedule, Schembechler Hall upgrades starting soon

By Nick Baumgardner


Spence Bros. construction of Saginaw is leading a $38 million project to renovate and expand the Crisler Center at the University of Michigan. This rendition depicts the new entrance on the east side of the building.

Spence Bros. Construction

The sights and sounds of construction crews and concrete being moved around the University of Michigan's South Campus aren't likely to subside soon.

Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said during last week's WTKA Mott Takeover event that the second phase of the Crisler Center renovations is on schedule, and the upcoming facelift and expansion to Schembechler Hall should be finalized soon.

"They're working double shifts at Crisler and if you go by, just about every day there's a new wall up, you can see the progress happening before your eyes," Brandon said. "They're working really hard because we need to get that baby ready to go for the season, and I'm being told we're on schedule. We've certainly had great weather, so there's no weather excuses."

Crisler Center is currently undergoing a second phase of renovations, costing an estimated $52 million.

The renovation project, a task Brandon expects to be finished by next season, will add approximately 63,000 square feet to the arena -- including private club space.

The project also features a renovated lobby and improved concourse areas. The first phase of renovations featured an in-arena facelift (complete with new HD video board), along with the new $23.2 million William Davidson Player Development Center, were unveiled prior to the start of the 2011-12 season.

As for Schembechler Hall, Brandon expects that process to get underway "real soon."


Schembechler Hall houses the Michigan football team's offices, locker rooms and other team facilities, along with a Michigan football museum. file photo

"We're in the finalization plans, we'll go before the regents for the renovation and expansion of Schembechler real soon, and the public will get to see what we have in mind there," Brandon said. "We're really excited about the prospects there."

In January, the regents approved a $9 million renovation of the building, which currently houses the Michigan football team's offices, locker rooms and other team facilities.

Schembechler Hall also includes a Michigan football museum, something that will be given a major upgrade during the planned renovations. The project calls for the museum to be given a modern upgrade and will also feature a new entrance that is designed for easier public access.

In total, the building will expand by approximately 7,000 square feet. An existing 7,000 square feet will be renovated.

Additionally, Brandon recently announced a $250 million master plan that will upgrade nearly every non-revenue athletic facility on campus throughout the next seven to 10 years.

For that project to get fully underway, though, Brandon says work needs to be done.

"That will really affect 15 of our sports," he said. "So we have a lot of work to do and a lot of money to raise."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Sat, May 26, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

The UM is one of the financially strongest universities in the nation, in general, and the athletic improvements are funded independently by the athletic department. These capital improvements are very positive and should be welcome by those who want UM to continue to succeed in its sports and in general.


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 5:07 p.m.

We need donations to send the band to Dallas! We need donations in order to secure your season tickets! We need 'ticket license fees' if you wanted to sit in the good seats, etc etc. Hey, you know what else we need ? All sorts of money to go towards buildings and sports that no one cares about!


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 4:38 p.m.

It's going to be great when they get all this work done. I can't wait to see the new and improved Crisler Center. The east side entrance will be a big upgrade over the crummy glass doors ringing the building. I wonder if there will also be some sort of entrance on the west side? But, I won't miss the cramped, dark, and jammed concourse areas around the perimeter. Hopefully, they'll also upgrade the traditionally lousy food choices. Before, if you didn't want a hot dog, roasted almonds, a candy bar, popcorn, or cracker jacks, you were out of luck.


Sat, May 26, 2012 : 11:02 a.m.

Click on the "second phase of rennovations" link in the article for a rendering of the southwest entrance.


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 3:27 p.m.

Since these projects go to the lowest bidder, maybe Spence Brothers were the lowest bid, just saying. Besides Spence does have a office in the Ann Arbor area and at least they didn't pick a company from ohio.

David Hardcastle

Fri, May 25, 2012 : 3:08 p.m.

Spence Brothers is a local company, they are Michigan through and through, based in Saginaw but with offices in Ann Arbor and Traverse City. Check your facts before you start ranting.


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 12:41 p.m.

Saginaw? What, we can't hire local builders?!?!?


Sat, May 26, 2012 : 3:58 p.m.

I'm in Virginia, that seems pretty local to me.


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

He's being sarcastic. Right?


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 2:08 p.m.

Maybe because it's a public project, and as such, there are rules for how a successful bidder is selected? They can't just pick whichever builder they want; there would be an uproar about that.


Fri, May 25, 2012 : 12:09 p.m.

why are there no current pictures?