Building a Bigger House

The University of Michigan Football Stadium, affectionately known as “The Big House”, reclaimed its position as the largest football stadium in the country upon completion of its expansion and renovation.

Every renovation project is met with scheduling challenges, but the completion date of the Big House renovation was not negotiable, with 109,901 fans expected for opening day. Despite this challenge, the project team navigated through the intricate renovation and expansion while hosting more than 100,000 fans through the construction site on game days over two football seasons.

Missing a football game because of construction? That was never an option. The construction team built time into the project schedule to shut down construction operations, clean- up, conduct safety inspections, and turn the building over to the university before each home game. That meant construction activities took place on Monday through Thursday during the football season.

The turnover process occurred on Thursday afternoons so the University could take control of the site and allow vendors, media and game-day operations to move in on Friday and handle Saturday games. The University cleaned-up on Sunday and turned the stadium back over to the construction team on Monday at 6 am.

Monday morning, the team unpacked and prepared the site for tradesmen – and 4 days later, would have to pack up all over again. Some workers did not get Saturday game days off; instead, they secured work areas throughout the facility to ensure fan safety.

Sixteen home games along with other activities – including Commencement with President Obama – were hosted at the stadium during renovations. There were more than a million fans and other visitors through the site, with no safety incidents.

As a fan commented, “You don’t just have 100,000 fans – you have 100,000 superintendents making sure everything is just the way we want it.”

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