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Regents to consider upgrades to softball facilities

By Peter Shahin, Daily Staff Reporter
Published October 15, 2012

At its monthly meeting on Friday, the University’s Board of Regents plans to consider a number of minor issues and construction projects around the Ann Arbor campus. Compared to previous months where the regents have approved renovations schedules worth hundreds of millions of dollars, this month’s motions are less costly.

One of the largest single expenditures is a proposed rebuilding of the University’s Softball Service Building, which will total $4 million. In a communication to the regents, Athletic Director Dave Brandon and Timothy Slottow, the University’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, wrote that the current building — completed in 1998 — no longer meets the needs of the program. The existing structure would be demolished and replaced with a 10,000 square-foot facility with modernized equipment.

“The proposed 10,000-gross-square-foot Softball Center will include locker rooms for players and coaches, staff offices, a team meeting room, athletic medicine and fitness spaces, and support space,” Brandon and Slottow wrote.

No start or completion date was included in the communication.

Regents to consider Power Center renovations

The regents will also consider upgrades to the University’s Power Center for the Performing Arts. According to a communication, the $2-million proposed upgrade will focus solely on upgrades to the building’s original 1971 electrical system.

“This project will upgrade the substation and a number of electrical motor control centers, switchboards, and receptacle and lighting panels to meet current code and safety requirements,” Slottow wrote.

The project will also be budgeted to include upgrades to the adjacent Fletcher Street Parking Structure. If the regents approve the motion, Slottow estimated that the project would be completed by winter of 2014.

Honorary degree recipients to be approved

Following Monday’s announcement of the winter 2012 commencement speakers, the regents will also consider awarding honorary degrees to the speakers and other distinguished individuals.

Raynard Kington, the president of Grinnell College and the keynote speaker, will be considered for an honorary Doctor of Laws. Kington received his undergraduate degree and M.D. from the University, and completed an MBA and Ph.D. with a concentration in health policy and economics at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, respectively. In 2003, he was appointed as a deputy director at the National Institutes of Health and briefly served as the agency’s acting director from 2008-2009. In 2010, he assumed the presidency of Grinnell College in Iowa.

Michael Boyd — the former artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, who has maintained a long relationship with the University — will be considered for a Doctor of Humane Letters. Boyd and English Prof. Ralph Williams have previously coordinated the Royal Shakespeare Company’s creative residence at the University of Michigan. The Royal Shakespeare Company’s past endeavors have included full performances at the University, and more recently, workshops to demonstrate the development of a major production.

Dee Dee Bridgewater — a singer-songwriter who has won numerous awards, including a Tony Award and three Grammy Awards — is nominated for a Doctor of Fine Arts honorary degree.

Molly Dobson, a community service volunteer and University alum, is nominated for a Doctor of Laws. Her philanthropy work has been based in Ann Arbor and in 2007 she won the Community Foundation Award from the Council of Michigan Foundations.

Joschka Fischer, a German Green party politician and the German foreign minister from 1998-2005, will be considered for a Doctor of Laws for his political work. He previously taught at the University.

Cornelia Kennedy is the first woman to serve a chief judge of a U.S. district court, and is nominated for a Doctor of Laws for her work in the 6th circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

Regents to authorize alcohol for Winter Classic

The regents’ agenda will also include the authorization of University officials to seek a temporary liquor license for the National Hockey League's Winter Classic. The Winter Classic is the NHL's flagship outdoor game, and is planned for Jan. 1, 2013 at Michigan Stadium. This year’s matchup will pit the Detroit Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Michigan’s hosting of the Winter Classic will depend upon the resolution of the NHL lockout, which has resulted in the cancellation of regularly scheduled games.

Due to a change to the Michigan Liquor Control Code, the regents must now directly issue temporary liquor licenses for special events at Michigan Stadium, Slottow wrote in a communication to the regents.

“Under the Michigan Liquor Control Code, the Board of Regents must provide local government approval for the concessionaire's application for the liquor license,” Slottow wrote.

According to Slottow’s communication, Sodexo Management Inc. will provide catering and beverage services at the event, pending regental approval.