The University of Michigan’s historic Intramural Sports Building, on Hoover off State St., is nearly ready for reopening. The facility— the first university intramural sports building built in the United States, opened in 1928— closed in April, 2015 for much needed renovations. Set to reopen in September, students are excited for the 106,000 square foot IM Building to open its doors again.
The building’s new developments modernize the space, enhancing efficiently, based on usage patterns. For example, 12 racquetball courts, with interest in the sport dwindling, shave been repurposed to accommodate today’s uses with more of a socializing atmosphere.
“We wanted to convert a lot of the space that was unused to spaces that people are looking for right now,” said IM Building Facility Manager Dave Siegle. “Whether that’s exercise spaces, wellness spaces, or even just lounge spaces. We’ve heard from students over the years that there’s just not enough spaces to hang out or study.”
Decisions on how to re-configure the building were based on input from students and faculty with 2,100 online questionnaires, in-person interviews and focus groups. Recreation sports staff also visited other universities’ recreation facilities to assess trends.
The modernized space will include new equipment, better lighting and improved air handling. The complete renovation will cost $21.4 million dollars. One of the biggest draws will be three large multi-purpose rooms that can be shared for different activities.
“(The multi-purpose rooms) can be easily converted and used from maybe a group led exercise class, like Zumba or yoga or an exercise class that can feature 20 to 60 individuals, to a seminar or conference style setting,” Siegle said. “Perhaps we have a movie showing in a larger room. It can be used for a variety of things.”
The new IM Building will be a place for more than just working out. Siegle sees it as an inclusive place for everyone at the university to use.
“It’s not just for the ‘I can lift 300 pounds’ people, it’s not for just the six day a week (workout) people, it’s for whoever,” Siegle said. “We want to open up what recreation means. It’s not just getting sweaty for 40 minutes, it’s a hang out type place. I think it will be good for the university community when all experience levels and background levels are welcome.”
An opening reception will take place October 6, including tours, presentations from student groups, and remarks from President Mark Schlissel and Vice President for Student Life E. Royster Harper. The hope is the renovated IM Building will strengthen the connection between students while promoting physical health.
The IMSB will open in Fall 2016.
Questions about the facility and the reopening
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