Previous Michigan athletic director Bill Martin's tenure with the school included renovations to seemingly every athletic venue on campus. If not for the failure of Rich Rodriguez as the head football coach, Martin's legacy would likely be most associated with the vast amount of improvements that the venues experienced during his time as athletic director. Michigan Stadium, Ray Fisher Stadium, Alumni Field, the new soccer facility, Al Glick Fieldhouse and the new basketball practice facility are just some of the venues that were renovated or constructed under his watch.
Although most of the athletic campus has already been overhauled, the construction is not slowing down under current athletic director Dave Brandon's watch. One of the first things he did after taking over as AD a year ago was make it a point to get Crisler Arena renovated, and he has followed through on that goal. Last October, the first phase of the Crisler renovation, a $20 million project that will improve infrastructure related things like the roof and electrical, plumbing and air handling systems, was approved. And last week, the second phase of the renovation was approved by the Michigan Board of Regents. This phase, which will cost $52 million, will drastically overhaul the inside of the arena, improving the seating and concourses.
The expansion will add approximately 63,000 gross square feet for new fan entrances, additional retail spaces and ticketing areas, as well as a private club space.
The renovation will improve seating for people with disabilities and provide expanded and renovated concourses to allow for an increase in restrooms, concessions and other fan amenities. All seats throughout the arena will be replaced.
The construction schedule for phase two of the Crisler renovation will not be determined until a schematic design is approved by the Board of Regents. It's expected that the changes will be consistent with the look of the new practice facility that is being built next to Crisler, as the same architects were behind that project. It is set to open before next basketball season, and I'd anticipate the major construction on Crisler to begin following next season's conclusion in 2012.
While the approval of the biggest part of the Crisler renovation was big news, it was not the only sports construction project approved by the Board of Regents last week. They also approved the installation of new HD scoreboards at Michigan Stadium, Yost Ice Arena and Crisler Arena. Brandon had talked a lot in the past about his hope of bringing HD scoreboards to Michigan's three biggest sports venues, and now that goal is on track to be met. The new scoreboards are expected to be installed in time for the 2011 football season and the 2011-12 hockey and basketball seasons.
As far as what the new scoreboards will look like or how big they will be, the exact details are yet to be released. What we do know is that the new Michigan Stadium scoreboards will be 40 percent bigger than the current ones. What's more, the new scoreboards will be all video rather than only a portion like the current ones. This means that the increase in the size of the video screens will be quite drastic compared to the current scoreboards, which were installed before the 1998 season.
At Yost Ice Arena, the new scoreboard will actually bring a video screen to the facility. The current scoreboard does not have video capabilities, so this will be a very welcomed change, as viewing replays at Michigan hockey games isn't possible right now unless you're sitting behind a TV. The Crisler Arena scoreboard right now does have video, but the scoreboard itself looks very out of date and utilizes old technology. The new scoreboard will be one of the many improvements coming to Crisler Arena in the coming years.
The total cost of the scoreboards project is $20 million. Both this project and the Crisler Arena renovation will be funded by athletic department resources and gifts.