I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
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.
...will hold a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday (May 10) at 1 p.m., as construction is scheduled to begin on the new Basketball Player Development Center adjacent to Crisler Arena. The groundbreaking is free and open to the public.
U-M Director of Athletics Dave Brandon, U-M men's and women's head coach John Beilein and Kevin Borseth, as well as other university athletics staff, architects and other dignitaries will be on hand for the program.
Construction will be phased over a two-year period and completed in fall 2011.
If you have the time and you're in town, this is a great opportunity to show off your support of the basketball programs. The new facility...
...to be built adjacent to Crisler Arena on its east side, will be approximately 57,000 gross square feet. It will house two basketball practice courts, team locker rooms for players and coaches, and an athletic medicine area equipped with hydrotherapy.
The second floor will accommodate the men's and women's coaching staffs and administrative support, as well as feature film-viewing rooms and strength and conditioning space. The proposed design calls for a new entrance to Crisler Arena for players and coaches at the playing floor level and a new, dramatic Hall of Fame in the entry lobby. The lobby would provide a distinct identity for the basketball programs while harmonizing with the existing basketball arena and Michigan Stadium.
It's been said before, but this facility should prove to be quite a boon to Michigan's ability to recruit top players.
Dave Brandon addressed the Canton Economic Club on 7 April and discussed several issues of interest to the U-M faithful including: Instituting positive change, Practicegate, The Big Chill, the Basketball Practice Facility, Crisler renovations, and whether he's considering a run for governor.
Change: “One of the first things I did is I decided I wanted to identify something that was an opportunity for us to be different and show change. [The night game is] going to be unbelievable. Michigan against Notre Dame, nose to nose, under the lights, prime time. National television. That’s cool. That’s change to grow. That’s change is good.”
Other changes are in the works: “No hints. We’ll talk about cakes after they’re baked.”
Practicegate: No self-imposed penalties are contemplated, only action so far was Alex Herron's dismissal.
The Big Chill: “The current record is 70,000-ish, and we’re going to beat it. We’re going to create an atmosphere and an opportunity, tailgating in December. We’re going to (transform) Michigan Stadium into a hockey rink and … it’s going to be phenomenal. Tickets are going to be very affordable. This is not an opportunity to make a lot of money, it’s an opportunity to fill that stadium, set a record and be part of an experience that no one else will be able to duplicate. That’s change to grow, that’s change is good.”
New Basketball Practice Facility/Crisler Renovation: Construction of the new Basketball Practice Facility will begin immediately after Spring Commencement. As previously noted here, the next phase will be improvements to Crisler's infrastructure followed by a third phase that “...will be absolutely a complete remodel of the facility where you would potentially bust out the concourses and you would create the bigger circulation space. More restrooms, capacity, more amenities, better food service, maybe some kind of club-seating opportunities for those who are interested in that experience. Really making it a modern arena for the purpose of big-time college basketball. And that’s ultimately where we’d love to go with Crisler Arena because the program deserves that. Both the men’s and women’s program deserves that.”
Governor ambitions: “No. I made a five-year commitment to President (Mary Sue) Coleman and to the university, and I also in that spirit said if things are going well and the university’s pleased with my performance and I feel like I’m making a difference that I want to make, then I’m here to extend that for another five years. So I’m all in for Michigan.”
We already know that one change that has proven to be good and will certainly create growth was MSC's decision to hire Dave Brandon.
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?