In the 144th year of Michigan football, significant transformations are lighting up the Big House. Michigan Stadium, a landmark in college football, is undergoing a $41 million facelift. With construction remaining on track, fans can look forward to new enhancements when the Wolverines kick off their home season against East Carolina on September 2.
Transforming the Iconic Big House
The privately-funded project, approved by the U-M Board of Regents in spring 2022, includes extensive updates to the stadium. As of Tuesday, the construction was visibly in full swing. The northern end zone's video board seemed nearly complete, while the southern end zone's board construction had yet to begin. However, the new frame was entirely set up, indicating a smooth progression.
Enhancements for a Better Fan Experience
The renovation primarily involves installing larger scoreboards. Although retaining their original height of 62 feet, they will be wider than the 108-foot versions installed in 2011. In addition to this, Michigan is investing more than $5 million in upgrading the stadium's audio equipment.
According to Athletic Director Warde Manuel, these updates will significantly enhance fans' experience. The existing video boards had “exceeded their anticipated service life,” he said in a spring memo. The new scoreboards promise to be “significantly more energy efficient,” thus enhancing sustainability efforts at the stadium.
Lighting the Way
Another highlight of the renovation is the new stadium lights, which were spectacularly flown in by a helicopter. Michigan Stadium had used temporary lights for its games until 2010. It was only when a night game with Notre Dame was scheduled that permanent lighting was first added. Now, these upgrades promise to illuminate the Big House like never before.
Impact Beyond the Football Field
The benefits of this project extend beyond Michigan Stadium. A significant portion of the funding will upgrade the production studios at Crisler Center, which serves athletic teams and facilities across campus. This includes Michigan Stadium, Yost Ice Arena, Ray Fisher Stadium, Alumni Field at Carol Hutchins Stadium, and more.
The Big House's facelift is more than just a cosmetic makeover. It symbolizes a commitment to providing a better fan experience, enhanced energy efficiency, and upgraded facilities across the university's athletic department.