The University Record, September 13, 1999

‘Halo’ design to get second look, with public comments

By Rebecca A. Doyle

President Lee C. Bollinger announced Sept. 5 that the design of the ‘halo’ surrounding Michigan Stadium will get a second look this year during discussions on renovations of the press box. The discussions will include public input. Photo Services file photo by Bob Kalmbach
The bright yellow band around Michigan Stadium known as “the halo” will get a second look by University planners, this time considering public opinion, President Lee C. Bollinger announced in a statement released Sept. 5.

The much-debated Stadium addition that tops the superstructure supporting new seats has been a sore spot for the past year, and Bollinger said he has received more negative than positive comments about the halo.

The structure has been criticized for its color, the size of the letters and symbols, its gaudiness and what some say is an air of haughty superiority it brings to the Michigan campus.

“When I invited Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates to assist us in the expansion and redesign of the stadium, I clearly did not provide sufficient public engagement in the process,” Bollinger said in the statement. “Time was thought to be of the essence, and the process accordingly fell short.”

Although he doesn’t want all of the University’s architectural plans to be subject to public review, he said that there were certain instances in which public comment should be made and listened to.

“Over the summer I came to the conclusion that the depth of the criticism and concern seemed to be genuine and coming from reasonable people,” Bollinger told the Record. “I then had to face the fact that I had pushed this through too quickly and had not really allowed appropriate time for public comment.”

He noted that Michigan Stadium and Hill Auditorium are two buildings that merit public comment because of their importance to and use by the entire community.

Public discussion about redesigning the top of the stadium will take place during planning for renovations of the press box, slated for this year.

“For several years, the University has wanted to renovate the press box area of Michigan Stadium. In the course of this academic year, we will begin to plan this project,” Bollinger said.

“That will also be an appropriate time to engage in a discussion about redesigning the top of the stadium (now known as the halo), giving a chance for the expression of public views.”

Although Bollinger says details are not yet firm, he expects that any changes will be published and community members will have an opportunity to say what they feel about the proposals before changes are made. Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates will present designs and proposed changes.

“I think we are heading toward a redesign that is simple, perhaps withdrawing,” Bollinger said, noting that he had thought the Michigan Stadium addition was “a fine example of a genre of American architecture—it was celebratory, festive, collegiate and not a false attempt at a Roman coliseum.”