Crisler Center: Exterior Walls ripped Out

Submitted by StephenRKass on February 28th, 2012 at 12:07 PM

Sunday I had asked a question about the schedule on Crisler Center renovations. This question has been answered:  a number of the exterior walls have already been ripped out, with the bottom of the upper seats and the concourses visible to the outside air.

UMhoops has some of the photos of the (link:) Crisler Center Construction.

Additional photos of the demolition and construction, taken yesterday, Monday Feb. 27, can be found at (Link:) Michigan Stadium Aerials.

I hadn't fully thought through the fact that the brick walls were not load bearing, and as such, could be removed and expanded outward. Seeing the photos, I can now visualize how stores or food vendors or restrooms (or the atrium, for that matter,) could be built outward from the concourse area, adding a lot of floor space to Crisler.

The renovations will result in an increase of 65,000 square feet. I have seen this figure previously, but never really had a good spatial idea of what that meant. This increase is the same as a football field plus 13% more. Here's a picture to help you visualize:

Football field drainage drawing.

That is a HUGE increase, and will vastly change the experience at Crisler.

I had wondered why they were pressing to begin already, since this precludes the team from using Crisler for practice through the NCAA tournament. However, looking at the pictures, I can see why they wanted to begin. The new construction, especially of the atrium entrance at the northeast, is pretty extensive. Even if they are still finishing things off inside through August and September and even October, they would want to have the exterior walls completed by mid-August, to avoid construction vehicles and fencing when the football season starts.

With the completion of the Crisler Renovations, Michigan's athletic campus may be better than any other in the world. The centerpiece, of course, is Michigan Stadium, with the new luxury boxes. But in addition to Michigan Stadium, we have:

  • Crisler Center
  • PDC for Men's & Women's Basketball
  • Indoor Al Glick Football Facilities
  • Yost for Hockey
  • New Wilpon Baseball Complex
  • Cliff Keen Arena, for Wrestling & Gymnastics
  • Canham Natatorium

There are many more facilities, but almost all of these are fairly new, and yet very attractive. Several of the recent football recruits have commented on how they were very impressed by the Stadium. With the completion of Crisler next year, It is hard to think of any sport where our physical facilities are a liability. A lot of credit needs to go to Bill Martin, who had a vision for improving the physical plant at Michigan.



February 28th, 2012 at 4:29 PM ^

The second photo shown above looks like an average November game against like Stony Brook. ~19K/20K?

This would be an average middle of the week Big East game against like Marquette or Providence ~23K/25K?

Top games against like G'town, UConn, Villanova, etc. can get over 34K (like this weekend which we're going up for vs. Louisville)


February 28th, 2012 at 4:08 PM ^

I knew you would post a pic when capacity came up.


Syracuse is my #1 bball team (I was 4 when the Fab Five were around and well..Ellerbee/Amaker etc etc) and now that I live in Lexington, KY I've been taunting my coworkers with visions of me winning the office pool by default once UK gets bounced out in the Sweet 16/Elite 8 as they always seem to do. 

Go Orange!


February 28th, 2012 at 1:02 PM ^

I believe seating capacity will decrease slightly due to the luxury boxes being added to the inner concourse, like the 2 installed last summer.  A row of seats, approximately 12, needs to be removed for each box and they are adding 4 boxes.  These boxes hold less than the amount of seats being removed. 


February 28th, 2012 at 12:22 PM ^

Thought it wouldn't benefit me, it would be beyond awesome to build some sort of little sky walk, enabling the use of facilities at Michigan Stadium for events at Crisler and vice versa, without going outside or what have you. Patrons who bought football luxury boxes could access them on basketball gamedays and Crisler could be used to hold really cool pre football rallys and what not without any need to control ground traffice between the two buildings.

Never happen, but I can see some cool things coming from a combined center like that.


February 28th, 2012 at 12:53 PM ^

I support all the recent renovations and plans but I oppose selling the naming rights to our basketball court (unless we name it after an individual donor, like Bill Davidson).


February 28th, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

You don't think this AD is going to get some cash out of this?  If Red's not paying, my guess is he's not getting the name (I'm actually really ignorant about hockey... it's not being named after him, is it?).

One of the "benefits" of changing "Crisler Arena" to "Crisler Center" is that you can then sell naming rights to the arena.  Example: Value City Arena at the Schottenstein Center.  I know what you're thinking . . . . SWEEEEEEEEEEEEET!!!!!!  Am I right?

Even were it not for the adoption of the "Crisler Center" name, this administration would be keen to cash in on the name of the wooden court itself.  I've seen corporate ads and logos on the courts of other Big Ten schools.  I'm not sure if the trend started recently or not, but I began noticing all those corporate ads this year and was glad that UM didn't do the same. 

Don't be surprised if you hear something about this soon.  Arby's is already dazzling us with digital ads that jump around the b-ball scoreboard.  It's going to be spreading.  That's my educated guess.




February 28th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

I fear that you and the caller are right re: using the label "center" to pave the way for a re-naming of the "arena."  That said, I'd love to hear the distinction between "center" and "arena."  The "center" includes the development facilities?

As for the court, if it has to be named, my choices are either Cazzie Russell Court or Darius Morris "Get the F**K off My" Court. 


February 28th, 2012 at 2:04 PM ^

The reason given for the name change was that the facility now includes more than just an arena. Crisler Center refers to the entire facility, including the arena and the player development center.

Also, I found a Michigan Daily article from last month that provides some more details from Brandon on the second phase of the renovation. One thing that was news to me is that Michigan's Hall of Honor will be incorporated into Crisler Center. Also, the renovation's second phase is slated to be completed in January or February of 2013, and plans are being made for a big "grand opening":

“We have a natural opportunity to come next season because we’re going to hold a massive celebration when we complete the entire Crisler project,” [Brandon said.]

To do so, Brandon is planning to host a big-name opponent to create a buzz-worthy event that will draw fans and former players to the grand opening in January or February of 2013.

“We absolutely want there to be a big-brand opponent that comes in that just rounds off the whole weekend,” said Brandon, who isn’t sure who the opponent will be. “We want to have a big game, we want to have a big turnout of former players — men and women — hopefully some former coaches and really celebrate the investment that we’ve made in this program, as well as the tradition and history of Michigan basketball.

“We’re already planning that. It’s going to be a big deal.”

I assume this would be one of those nonconference games scheduled in the middle of the Big Ten season. Duke or North Carolina maybe? If he wants former coaches, perhaps San Diego State?


February 28th, 2012 at 2:11 PM ^

Michigan was ordered to disassociate itself from Chris Webber until 2013. What this means is that a grand opening of the Crisler Center, in 2013, could be the opportunity to welcome back the Fab Five, Cazzie, Rudy T, Glen Rice, along with Johnny Orr, Bill Frieder, Steve Fisher, Brian Ellerbe, and Tommy Amaker. I don't expect all of them to come, let alone be invited. But it would be allowable by the NCAA, and would be an awesome way to mend fences and reestablish relationships, particularly with the Fab Five.


February 28th, 2012 at 1:14 PM ^

Haven't we already done this? Named it the Crisler Center, after Fritz Crisler, a legendary Michigan coach? Unless, we name each individual thing (i.e., not only the Crisler Center, the John Smith Basketball Court, The Bob Costas Announcer's Booth, the Julia Child Concession Stand, the Kate Upton Women's Restroom, etc., etc.) Regardless, I generally agree with what you're saying, and the naming thing can be overdone.

RHammer - SNRE 98

February 28th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

just because we undertake a renovation to Crisler, doesn't necessitate a new name; I get that the new basketball HQ and practice facility deserves a moniker, but Crisler Arena is named after Fritz Crisler, and I haven't heard a compelling reason for why it should be any other way.


...and hey, get off my lawn.


February 28th, 2012 at 1:46 PM ^

Most non-Michigan fans already think our arena is sponsored by Chrysler anyways.  They seem to be doing better and spending a lot on advertising, DB should get them to pony up for naming rights and just call it the Chrysler/Crisler center.

I Bleed Maize N Blue

February 28th, 2012 at 1:43 PM ^

I had wondered why they were pressing to begin already, since this precludes the team from using Crisler for practice through the NCAA tournament.


Construction is on the arena, isn't it?  The PDC was built so the team would have a place to practice.


February 28th, 2012 at 1:56 PM ^

original post states......

With the completion of the Crisler Renovations, Michigan's athletic campus may be better than any other in the world



Look UM's facilities are nice, but some aren't even the best in the Big Ten let alone the world.  Our baseball stadium would rank about 14th in the SEC and its not the best in the Big 10. 


Yost is a nice hockey arena because the fans make it a great environment.  If it were half full every game it would be considered a dump and 30 years overdue to be replaced.


I could go on, I'm just trying to point out and hopefully tone down the hyperbole here.


February 28th, 2012 at 2:17 PM ^

I think the point was that, overall, our facilities rival any other university in the nation.  While some SEC schools have nice baseball fields, those same schools are lacking in facilities for basketball or non-revenue sports.  I agree with the original post, with our new PDC center, newly renovated Crisler, the Big House expansion, and all of our wrestling, soccer, swimming, field hockey, eventual lacrosse fields, etc.  Our atheletic campus as a whole would be hard to top by another University




February 28th, 2012 at 3:43 PM ^

I confess, I'm a Michigan Homer. But yes, (as noted by the other response,) I'm thinking of the athletic campus as a whole. In a post a couple weeks ago, it occurred to me that Michigan is rare in having strength simultaneously in Football, Hockey, & Basketball. This is ignoring all of the "minor" sports. (Maybe it would be better to say "non-revenue producing" rather than "minor.") But I know that soccer, and swimming, have great facilities. I know nothing about Lacrosse, but across the board, the facilities are very good.

I'm sure, as you mention, there are campuses that are better in one or another sport's facilities. But taking the whole enchilada and looking at the aggregate, Michigan is pretty solid. I vaguely recall that Ohio has the most NCAA sports of any campus. So I suppose it would make sense to compare our facilities to Ohio's. The SEC suffers with no hockey teams, and in many cases, weak basketball teams.

In terms of athletic success, UCLA & Stanford have more than 100 NCAA championships each (Michigan has 53. Link: So, rather than just making blind allegations, I should probably check out the facilities at Ohio, Stanford, & UCLA. Other than those three, I suspect Michigan has better "aggregate" facilities. And it is possible that our facilites, with the recent upgrades and additions, are now better than these three too.


February 28th, 2012 at 7:04 PM ^

If they weren't, Vanderbilt would be relavent. Baseball fields and hockey rinks are meaningless when it comes to rating facilities. Those 2 sports will be dead in 20 years anyway, and are a drain on AD resources. Eff 'em!


February 28th, 2012 at 7:12 PM ^

You do know that hockey makes money for Michigan, and in the south baseball makes money as well? You don't seem very well informed about AD finances.

Also, it appears every single Michigan AD in history (and certainly DB) disagrees with you about rating facilities, since they have all authorized building and renovations of facilities not related to football or basketball.

The fact you haven't been banned yet is quite impressive to me, given the sheer amount of trolling you do.


February 28th, 2012 at 4:12 PM ^

The renovation sounds terrific. It has been decades since I was on campus, but i hope to make it back for homecoming this fall and I look forward to seeing all of the new facilities.

I am curious about a comment made by Dave Bandon in a recent blog entry:

Now, the Michigan Athletics Department has a $122 million budget, 29 sports and some of the best facilities in college sports. And we also have some very uncompetitive and unacceptable facilities as well. We have a great deal more investing to do in several of our programs.

So, given the fabulous state of our athletic facilities, which are still considered unacceptable? Understandably, there are no permanent lacrosse facilities yet, but other than that, what other programs need facilities investment?