Plans to construct an underground addition in the Detroit Observatory were approved yesterday by the U-M Board of Regents.
The Detroit Observatory was the first observatory built in the state of Michigan in 1854 and is the second-oldest building on U-M’s campus. In 2005, the Detroit Observatory became a division of the Bentley Historical Library.
The $10-million project will construct a below-ground addition of approximately 6,000 square feet that will provide program and support space. The addition will house a flexible multi-use classroom, a new entry and reception area, restrooms, storage, catering and support spaces.
Additional improvements include site work to allow for improved accessibility and greater connectivity.
The project includes significant earthwork and specialized footings and foundations to protect the historic building and support the below-grade addition and landscape above. The scope of the project also includes the architectural, electrical and mechanical work necessary to complete the improvements.
Funding for the project will be provided from Bentley Historical Library gifts and resources.
The architectural firm of Harley Ellis Devereaux will design the project. The project is expected to provide an average of 13 on-site construction jobs.
Design is scheduled to begin immediately and the university will return with a construction schedule with approval of a schematic design.
Please direct any media inquiries to:
Rick Fitzgerald, Assistant Vice President for Public Affairs