As we get close to the season, I've been wondering how the Crisler Center Renovations were going, since the exterior obviously largely needs to be finished before home games begin. I contacted Michigan Stadium Aerials yesterday to see when there would be an update. (a great website, btw, for photos of the Stadium renovation and aerial views of the athletic campus.)
Ask and you shall receive: they got back to me, and there are photos of the renovation now posted.
Looks very nice, and I'm sure that they'll be hard at work inside over the next couple months to get everything ready to open in November. Would love to hear from any of you actually working on the renovations or part of the basketball facility staff as to how things are going inside.
Every once in a while I think about Michigan Basketball and how the Crisler Arena Renovation and the Basketball Practice Facility projects are going to work. This is one of those times, I had an idea and I wanted to know what others thought about it. Bill Martin mentioned that only once the stadium is finished would they start any construction on Crisler Arena, so I guess that means a practice facility is in the more near future. In terms of location, I think the most convenient (and by “most convenient” I mean least interrupting to Michigan Football) location is in the lot southeast of Crisler Arena (northwest of the intersection of the railroad and E. Stadium, on the other side of the Field Hockey and Rich Rodriguez stolen soccer fields (that sucks!)) I think that location would allow the facility to be put in somewhat of a sizable corner and still allow for some parking spots to be retained. Now the big problem, how the hell do you renovate Crisler Arena without displacing the Men’s and Women’s Basketball team along with Gymnastics, Wrestling, etc. for a year (or more)? Well, from 1923 to 1967 the Basketball team played and practiced in Yost Fieldhouse, while Ice Hockey played in the Sports Coliseum until 1973 when the Fieldhouse was converted into Yost Ice Arena. What if they put the Basketball teams back into Yost for a season or two? There are a lot of professional and college arenas that convert back and forth from basketball to hockey venues, no reason why Michigan couldn’t do it as well. In addition, there are many other benefits to this. The AD could advertise this as Michigan Basketball’s RETURN TO YOST and maybe give our fans some sense of sports history. Maybe a Men’s basketball game would sell out or at least look full on television and I am sure the Maize Rage would have much more rage in Yost. Maybe for two years Michigan would have the most intimidating atmosphere to play basketball in the Big Ten (similar to Ice Hockey) and just possibly (I hope!) they can make a C-YA Chant for foul outs, technical fouls and ejections and take those with them when they go back to Crisler Arena. Gymnastics and Wrestling? Try to keep as many meets as possible in Cliff Keen, but I am sure if the basketball floor was already installed in Yost it wouldn’t be too hard to put some mats down for them to compete. The soccer team was supposed to have a few fields built near the Tennis and Gymnastics Centers down south on State Street, but I guess that didn’t go through and now they play at Eastern. I don’t think the Athletic Department would move Basketball anywhere, hopefully. A farfetched solution to this problem is as follows. Directly south of Michigan stadium, right next to the UM Golf Course is the Ann Arbor Golf and Outing Club, a 9 hole golf course with two tennis courts and a small clubhouse (www.aagoc.org). The idea? Buy the “private club” out (we spend so much money on buyouts that go to West Virginia, let’s put some money into Michigan!) and put the soccer fields and Basketball Practice facility there. It’s crazy and not likely at all, but it makes sense. I think. Instead of rushing construction and only making minor renovations to Crisler, I think Michigan Basketball and Michigan in general deserve a total overhauling of Crisler Arena. There is no reason why we should be lagging behind in basketball facilities and I think it would be a great advantage to have one of the best and most up to date arenas in the nation. The temporary move to Yost has some advantages too and I think this makes it a very good plan for the Athletic Department to follow. However, I don’t make any of these decisions, don’t know anything about construction or transforming an ice hockey rink into a basketball court on a daily basis, didn’t even know there was a private club next to the golf course – so this was all just wishful thinking on my part. What do you think?