September 18, 2014
The Board of Regents Sept. 18 approved the Athletics South Competition and Performance Project, located along South State Street on the Stephen M. Ross Athletic Campus. This project addresses needs identified at the launch of the athletic department’s portion of the Victors for Michigan campaign last fall.
“We are grateful for the support that our regents and university leadership have continued to provide as we execute our transformational facilities plan for Michigan Athletics,” said Dave Brandon, Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. “This phase of the plan will complete several of our largest projects that will have a major impact on the future of Michigan Athletics.
“We are providing state-of-the-art facilities for all of our student-athletes to meet, train, compete and develop as students, athletes and community leaders. We are extremely appreciative of the donor support that has already been committed during this capital campaign and has enabled these projects to move forward.”
The Athletics South Competition and Performance Project will serve the training and competition needs of nearly two-thirds of the total number of student-athletes. The project will construct approximately 310,000 gross square feet of space that will become the future home for men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s rowing.
A performance and team center will provide specialized spaces for each team and shared resources for all teams for strength and conditioning, athletic medicine, a performance lab, meeting space and locker rooms. It also will allow Athletics to consolidate various team facilities now dispersed across the athletic campus.
The university's first indoor rowing tank will be built. New indoor and outdoor track and field facilities that will have permanent seating for 2,000 and 1,000 spectators, respectively, will allow the university to again host home track meets as well as regional and national competitions. A 3,000-seat lacrosse stadium will create a home for the university’s newest varsity programs, in a sport that is one of the fastest-growing in the nation.
At the meeting, several students spoke before the Board of Regents.
Wes Vear, a chemistry and economics senior and president of men’s club rowing, thanked the regents for supporting new facilities.
“We started as a small coed club team, but grew to national powerhouse,” he said of the club rowing team. “The new facilities will provide a crucial training tool we now lack. A necessity for any team that wishes to maintain a top position.”
Amber Smith, an engineering student and two-time captain of the women’s track team, said, “Representing Michigan is a great experience.” While the current facilities don’t meet general or safety standards, she said she was encouraged that the new facilities will change that.
Alex Spaulding, a senior and member of the women’s rowing team, said she chose academics over athletics when she came to U-M but soon got an opportunity to join the women’s rowing team.
“The team is a top performer, without a home to call our own,” she said.
Currently there is not a rowing tank or open water available year round for team members, in addition to a lack of dedicated lockers, Spaulding said.
“These new facilities would do amazing things for men’s and women’s rowing. … It will make us better rowers and give us a place to call home.”
The project, made possible by the purchase of property adjacent to existing U-M facilities, has an estimated cost of $168 million. Funding will be provided entirely by athletic donor resources and gifts, including a $100 million gift from Stephen M. Ross. The regents also approved the architectural firm of TMP Architecture Inc. for design of the project.
Michigan will seek, at a minimum, a silver LEED-certification and the facilities will be built to energy standards 30 percent better than the current state of Michigan building code requirements.
In addition, the facilities will be available to students who participate in the university’s recreational sports programs.
— Record Editor Jillian A. Bogater contributed to this report.