Construction of new $21M weight room approved for UM football, not everyone is pleased

The improvements for the University of Michigan football team have been rolling in steadily since the arrival of Jim Harbaugh as head football coach. Highly ranked recruiting classes, bowl game wins, an elevated national profile, and seasons with double-digit win totals are all happening.

With the winning comes new facility improvements. Today the UM Board of Regents approved a $21 million dollar expenditure for the construction of a new weight room for the football team.

The new 32,000 square foot facility is part of a larger project to renovate the Oosterbaan Fieldhouse. During construction, other Michigan sports teams will be inconvenienced, including the Wolverines Rugby team. Team president Nate Fisher talked about his problems with the new construction project with MLive.

“Athletic administrators were gracious enough to meet with us and provide details about the project,” Fisher said. “We appreciate that they feel their plans will provide our teams with a suitable alternative to what we are losing in Oosterbaan, but the reality is that the impact on our community will be significant.”

It’s a good thing that students are being heard in regent meetings. Student concerns in the past fell on deaf ears during the previous athletic administration led by Dave Brandon.

Current AD Warde Manuel tried to assure the students that their concerns were being taken under consideration.

“There are concerns on all sides, I definitely understand,” Manuel said. “We’ll continue to work provide the best facilities for our varsity teams, for club sports and for rec usage.”

According to the Detroit Free Press, the Michigan football team currently works out in Schembechler Hall via a 12,000 square foot facility constructed in 2009. Construction cost for that project was $26 million dollars.

In addition to creating the new weight room for the football team, the construction costs include funds to replace the 78,000 square foot roof on the Oosterbaan Fieldhouse. Fundraising for the new weight room has come from private events including golf tournaments. Other funds will come from athletic department resources.


Written by Leonard Elmore

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