Experienced Architects Take on Chippewa Champions Center

Feb. 6, 2018

Initial renderings of the Chippewa Champions Center reflect the goals of creating a year-round facility to serve all of Central Michigan University.

Populous, an architectural and design firm behind the look of numerous professional and collegiate sporting venues, will take the lead in designing the Chippewa Champions Center at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Meeting spaces, an alumni center and offices housing the CMU Advancement team are included in the plan.

"From the start, the vision for the Chippewas Champions Center has been to construct a place where we, as One CMU, come together," President George E. Ross said. "Certainly, it will augment the game-day football experience, but it's not just an Athletics project. This will be in use 12 months of the year and be a hub for campus events."

Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Michael Alford said Populous has a history of designing facilities that enhance the fan and student-athlete experience and stand the test of time. Populous, based in Kansas City, London and Brisbane, will partner with GMB, the architectural firm that designed CMU's soccer and lacrosse stadium.

"The Chippewa Champions Center will be a first-class facility for students, alumni, faculty, staff and fans," CMU Vice President of Advancement Robert Martin said. "This project is a partnership between all areas of the university family. "It will be a new home for alumni to use year-round for meetings, events and more," Martin said. "Imagine faculty, coaches and alumni sharing thoughts, ideas and perhaps a snack and beverage in this new center. The Advancement Board, Alumni Board, Young Alumni Board, all college advisory boards and our premier business partners will be fired up to use the facility."

The Chippewa Champions Center will replace the current locker room building in the north end zone of Kelly/Shorts Stadium. Alford said the current vision includes a new football locker room, a rehabilitation center and a nutrition center for all 475 CMU student-athletes, team meeting space and offices for football staff and a weight room.

Seating for football game days will include premium hospitality options.

"We're in the early stages of fund-raising, and there is strong interest in this project," Alford said. "By working with architects, we can take goals and ideas, build a vision and see what excites our alumni and supporters. It's an exciting project, and it shows the power of working with campus partners."

Alford, Martin and others recently met with Populous architects. Among similar projects Populous has developed: The Boise State Football Athletic Complex, Comerica Park in Detroit, improvements at the University of Oklahoma Memorial Stadium and the University of Colorado Champions Center.

The firm designed ANZ Stadium, the hub for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, and the Olympic Stadium in London for the 2012 Games; Heinz Field in Pittsburgh; and the University of Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium.

CMU alumni and friends interested in hearing more and contributing to the construction of the Chippewa Champions Center can contact Brian Brunner at 989-774-1836 or by email at brunn1bd@cmich.edu.

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