B&F Efforts Unite at the Union

The Michigan Union, originally built in 1919, recently reopened after an 18-month-long renovation. The Michigan Union is traditionally a location for our students and student organizations to gather, study, and relax. The infrastructure renovations were completed with great attention to historic preservation, sustainability, and accessibility. For example, a great majority of the more than 750 windows were restored, with some replaced with new energy efficient windows. 

Many of the changes, while crucial, are not necessarily visible. For example, the internal functions such as the mechanical systems, plumbing, and piping, have been upgraded. The new Michigan Union increased its energy savings by 37% and water consumption savings by 20%. Energy efficient window restorations, improved air conditioning, LED lighting, occupancy sensors are just some of the new and improved features. Historically significant features such as the State Street Plaza and the steps where JFK inspired the beginning of the Peace Corps have also been restored. 

Check out a fun video that tours the Union below!


Numerous B&F teams assisted in this monumental renovation program. To learn more about the teams that made this happen, see below.


Facilities & Operations, Utilities, Outdoor Lighting Shop installed the outdoor pedestrian lighting around the Union and in the adjacent plaza.

Facilities & Operations, Grounds Services were involved in the landscape design process and assisted in the installation. They also monitored the construction to maintain proper tree and root protection.
Facilities & Operations, Maintenance – Regions performed preventative maintenance and replaced the bearings on The Cube (a staple sculpture on central campus) and repainted it for the Union reopening.
Facilities & Operations, Architecture, Engineering & Construction oversaw design and construction management of the project, among other things.
Finance- Procurement Services worked with the Office of the General Counsel and University Unions to assist in reviewing and providing feedback on the lease documents. The department also assisted in developing the unique bidding process of the lease of restaurant retail space, providing public procurement expertise and insight when needed. 
Facilities & Operations, Maintenance – Auxiliaries & Central Shops, Key Office installed lock cores throughout the building and commissioned card reader doors. 
“As a new intern in Procurement Services, I was so honored and excited to have been invited to work on this project with Melissa and University Unions. I was able to provide a student perspective as well as give insight regarding our suppliers’ sustainability initiatives. It was fulfilling and eye-opening to see all of the hard work that the students and staff put into this project and be brought to life for the rest of the university.” -Gillian Hartley, student intern
Shared Services Center- Accounts Payable completed all of the F&O AEC construction payments, in conjunction with Finance teams. 

Facilities & Operations, Environment, Health & Safety ensured fire protection, life safety and abatement of hazardous materials.

B&F Leadership share in the excitement of the Union Reopening
Facilities & Operations, Real Estate Office helped departments that are traditionally housed in the Union find temporary spaces during the renovation. 
“I was so impressed with the student support and involvement.  All of the students were incredibly knowledgeable, professional, well-prepared, and brought such a great perspective to this process.  It has been, by far, one of my favorite procurement projects. The diverse backgrounds and passionate involvement of our team members produced a great end product for our university. “ – Melissa Sambiagio, Senior Procurement Agent


Read more about the Union restoration and programmatic changes on the Record