As the University moves forward in its search for a final architectural plan for Michigan Stadium, University students and alumni reacted with mixed emotions to the proposed renovations.

Beth Dykstra
LSA sophomore Kevin Dietz said he generally approves the renovation plans for Michigan Stadium as long as they do not take away from student seating. (Ashley Harper/Daily)

For many students, most of the concern about the proposed stadium changes centers on the student seating section and how it will be affected. The University has not yet outlined any specific changes to the student section of the stadium.

“I think (renovation) is a good idea as long as they don’t decrease seating or make it more crowded than it already is,” said LSA sophomore Kevin Dietz. “There are definitely areas of the stadium that are run down and need (fixing), but if it takes away from student seating or if every student can’t get a seat, that is definitely a con.”

The proposed stadium renovations include the addition of luxury seats, club seating and widening of seats and aisles. Whether the renovations will increase or decrease overall capacity will not be known until a plan is finalized, but University administrators have said they are interested in seeking student input for the renovations.

Brian Lucier, an Art and Design junior, said he has mixed feelings about the renovations, particularly regarding the proposed widening of seats and aisles.

“If there could be a way of widening the seats without decreasing the quantity, that would be awesome because the seats are pretty tight,” Lucier said.

Lucier added that he is concerned about the feel of the stadium being altered as a result of the addition of luxury boxes.

“I think it takes something away from the stadium, makes it too commercialized,” Lucier said.

Alex Mitchell, an LSA freshman and an offensive lineman on the football team, echoed Lucier’s sentiments.

“I think the renovations are fine as long as they don’t make it too much of a corporate atmosphere,” Mitchell said. “The point of the Michigan experience is everyone standing and being together.”

LSA junior David Cain said he is worried that the main motivation behind the renovations is not to fulfill what students want.

“To be honest, I feel like it’s just another way for the University to get money,” Cain said.

Other students, such as LSA junior Marcus Jenkins, agreed that the luxury suites were a money-making operation but said it did not bother them.

“The luxury boxes are for those people who choose to sit in them and can afford them,” Jenkins said. “It is another way the University can make more money, and if it doesn’t change the student seating, I say go for it.”

The issue of seating capacity also weighs heavily on the minds of some alumni, who must place their names on a waitlist to try to obtain season tickets for Michigan football games.

University alumnus Robert Dindoffer, a self-proclaimed Wolverine fan since birth who graduated last year, voiced his opposition to the renovations, fearing that the capacity will decrease and make it harder for alumni to get season tickets.

“I am extremely proud that … (Michigan) has had the largest stadium in the country,” said Dindoffer, who plans to put his name on the waitlist for season tickets.

But there are currently thousands on that list, Dindoffer said, and alumni often have to wait years to get tickets.

“If we are going to spend money on renovations, there ought to be an increase in capacity, not a decrease,” Dindoffer said. “I personally feel that every alumnus who wishes to have a season ticket should be afforded that opportunity, and some feel that the list is unnecessarily prohibitive.”

Still, Bruce Cook, who graduated in 1950, was more optimistic about the proposed changes to the stadium.

“I think it’s a move that is appropriate and timely; it needs to be done,” Cook said. “I have a friend who can’t come to the games anymore because he can’t navigate the steps without a handrail. The aisles need to be wider and seats larger.”

Cook also commented on the reactions to the addition of luxury boxes and the anxiety over the seating options.

“There is no question that there is greater demand for tickets than there is seating available; in terms of alumni it’s always been tight, and I don’t see any reason for this to change that,” Cook said.

“As far as luxury boxes are concerned, as long as it doesn’t affect student seating, I don’t know why they would care. It is hard for me to believe that (the University) would ever make it difficult for students to get tickets.”

Leave a comment

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