During its monthly meeting Thursday, the University’s Board of Regents is expected to approve renovations to Crisler Arena.

Built in 1967, the 13,800 seat arena is where the Michigan men’s and women’s basketball teams practice and play their home games. Aside from sporting events Crisler Arena also frequently hosts concerts, shows, and other academic events.

The proposed renovations are slated to cost $20 million and call for drastic changes to the aging venue.

The blue, lower bowl, seats of the arena will be removed and replaced in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Aisles will be widened and relocated, handrails will be added and elevators will be installed to ease accessibility to the seating area.

A new roof will be added to the arena and asbestos abatement will occur on an as needed basis. The building will also receive updates to its fire detection and suppression systems, an emergency generator, emergency egress lighting and other electrical improvements.

In a statement released by Athletic Director Bill Martin earlier today, Martin said the renovation will be a major step forward for University athletics.

“Renovating Crisler Arena is an integral part of our basketball program’s future success, on and off the court,” Martin said. “We really haven’t done any infrastructure work in the arena since its construction 40 plus years ago, and this will be a major step forward in improving our basketball facilities.”

The regents are also expected to authorize the issuance and awarding of construction contracts for the new $23.2 million basketball practice facility — of which the regents approved the schematic design in September.

The 57,000 square-foot addition to Crisler Arena will house two new practice courts, new locker rooms for the men’s and women’s basketball teams, offices for staff and coaches, an expanded strength and conditioning area and a larger athletic medicine area. Construction is expected to completed in fall 2011.


Also on the regent’s agenda is a proposal to name the Michigan Wrestling Center after former varsity wrestler Ralph Bahna and his wife Dorothy — also a University alum.

Ralph Bahna is the CEO of the discount travel website priceline.com. The $2-million gift is the largest a former varsity athlete has given to the University’s Athletic Department. Ralph Bahna won an individual Big Ten wrestling championship in 1964.

The new 18,000 square-foot wrestling facility opened last fall and features state-of-the-art amenities like locker rooms and lounges for the coaches and student-athletes, strength and conditioning areas, a training room, and three practice mats.


Aside from University athletics, the regents are also expected to approve plans for the Fuller Road Station. The Fuller Road project is a joint venture between the University and the City of Ann Arbor. The structure will include bus ports, bike locks, lockers and a 1,000-space parking structure.

The facility will cost $46,550,000 and will be shared between the University and the city according to the number of spaces allotted to each. The University will have 78 percent of the spaces in the new facility and pay 78 percent, or $36,309,000, of the cost. The structure is expected to be completed by mid 2012.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *