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Updated 2:30 PM September 19, 2005
 

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Baseball, softball stadiums to be renovated

Three renewal projects for U-M athletic stadiums were approved Sept. 15 by the Board of Regents, following a planning update by University Planner Sue Gott.

Fisher Stadium, home to the baseball team, and Alumni Field, where the national champion softball team plays, will be renovated and expanded. HOK Sport + Venue + Event, Inc., was appointed as the architect for the two projects.

The regents also approved the third year of concrete replacement at Michigan Stadium. Funding for the three projects will be provided by Athletic Department resources and gifts.

Gott presented to the regents a planning update regarding the South Campus and athletic facilities. Adjustments were made to the June 2003 athletic facilities master plan, she said, including keeping the baseball and softball venues at their existing sites rather than the earlier plan to relocate the facilities on South State Street.

"We also plan to improve pedestrian circulation in the athletics area by creating pedestrian linkages and pathways so fans attending events won't have to walk through the parking areas," Gott said.

Upgrades to Fisher Stadium, which originally was constructed in the early 1920s, will include the addition of approximately 250 stadium-type, flip-down seats and accommodations for barrier-free spectator areas, as well as new seats, additional public restrooms and concession areas.

Approximately 12,000 gross square feet of new construction will provide a new team clubhouse and locker rooms, coaches' offices and indoor practice facilities. A new public plaza at the stadium entrance will assist with enhanced pedestrian circulation, Gott said. The project budget is $9 million.

"This is a major step for our baseball program," said baseball coach Rich Maloney, "and will help us continue the great tradition that was established for this institution's oldest sport. This project will allow us to compete nationally on the field and for the top players in the country. It also will provide us with one of the better facilities in college baseball."

The grandstands at Alumni Field, which has been renovated twice since its original construction in 1982, will be replaced with 600 stadium-type and 1,100 bleacher seats, as well as accommodations for barrier-free spectator areas.

The new grandstands also will include public restrooms, concession areas and media space. The nearby Donald R. Shepherd Softball Building, built in 1998, will undergo minor upgrades to the team locker room and training areas. The project budget is $5 million.

"We are thrilled to have this facility come to fruition and to have our program remain at Alumni Field," softball coach Carol Hutchins says. "Last season during our national championship run, we received the nickname of 'Little House' because we were overflowing with fans every game, much like Michigan Stadium. This project will definitely enhance the environment for fans and provide our athletes with a first-class facility to practice and compete in daily."

Construction schedules for the two projects will be presented to the regents when approval of the schematic designs is sought. Construction would not begin until after the 2006 seasons.

At Michigan Stadium, concrete in 20 sections in the south end and west side will be replaced before the 2006 football season. The concrete in the stadium, which was constructed in 1924, has deteriorated due to the normal weathering process. Replacement work has been completed during the past two summers in other areas of the stadium. The project budget is $8 million.

Additional information about the facilities can be viewed at http://www.mgoblue.com.

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