February 20, 2014
The Board of Regents on Thursday approved major improvements to Elmer D. Mitchell Field, a Recreational Sports facility for intramural and club sports.
Located along Fuller Road, just north of the Medical Center, Mitchell Field comprises several sports fields that host up to 800 users a day during the intramural and club sports seasons.
The project is the second in a planned program of improvements and renovations to revitalize important Student Life facilities for students and the campus community. In December, regents approved the renovation of the Pierpont Commons café on North Campus.
“Recreational Sports has been collaborating with student representatives, including the students of Building a Better Michigan, to get their ideas for updating the Mitchell Field facilities,” said Loren J. Rullman, associate vice president for Student Life. “With their input, proposed improvements will increase the use and the capacity of the fields for intramural and club sports, and extend the operating season for the facility.”
Students and others turned out for snacks, winter sports and other activities to mark the Mitchell Fields renovation project groundbreaking on Saturday. (Photo by Sam Janicki)
The design recommendations will replace some softball fields with four artificial-turf soccer and multipurpose intramural fields that are more resilient to rain and frequent play than natural turf. Existing multipurpose fields will be improved for intramural team practices and games for sports that prefer natural turf, such as rugby. The two existing softball fields on the west side of Mitchell Field will remain.
The existing Mitchell Field Building will be renovated for storage, and a new 3,200-square-foot building will be constructed to improve bathroom facilities and to provide for on-site maintenance, storage and operational support.
Other improvements will include:
• Energy-efficient lighting with shields to keep light on the fields with minimal spill onto adjacent property or into the night sky.
• Site work for drainage improvements, underground utilities and fencing.
Construction will begin later this month, with completion planned for the start of fall term 2014.
The student organization Building A Better Michigan was instrumental in garnering student support and advocating for improvements to recreation and unions facilities.
Alex Abdun-Nabi, co-chair of the student organization Building a Better Michigan, and Rebecca Sigourney, a student staff member of Recreational Sports and a member of Building a Better Michigan., show artist renderings of the project. (Photo by Sam Janicki)
“The Pierpont Commons café project, approved back in December, and the Mitchell Field improvements approved today, represent the beginning of a renaissance for student life facilities on this campus," said Alex Abdun-Nabi, BBM co-chair.
"We are very excited to see these projects approved and to move forward with the reinvention of student life facilities for a new generation of Wolverines. We thank the regents for their support and we look forward to working with them in the future to improve the Michigan experience for students.”
The architectural firm SmithGroupJJR, based in Detroit, will design the project, which has an estimated cost of $8 million.
The overall capital program commitment of $173 million over the next several years will also include renovations and improvements to the three Recreational Sports buildings and the Michigan Union. Funding will be provided from a new student fee for Student Life facilities renewal, as well as contributions from Student Life, Athletics, Parking and investment income.