At University of Michigan, state’s oldest observatory to get $10 million renovation

Plans to construct an underground addition in the historic Detroit Observatory have been approved by the University of Michigan‘s Board of Regents.

The Detroit Observatory in Ann Arbor 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 renovation and expansion 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.

Renderings courtesy of Harley Ellis Devereaux.

See Harley Ellis Devereaux website.

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