With a few days’ notice about President Obama’s April visit, the U-M spread more than a red carpet. Apparently, when the White House decided the eighty-plus-year-old Intramural Building was a choice spot for a presidential speech on the minimum wage, the chief executive’s favorite sport, basketball, got benched. As one U-M worker involved in stage preparations noted, “The eight basketball backboards and nets above the courts had to be removed for fear light might reflect in the president’s face while speaking.” No one could remember the heavy, bulky fixtures having been disturbed since the IM Building’s construction in 1927. Also dropped from their hinges were the doors leading from the IM to the adjacent Canham Natatorium, to provide an unencumbered path for Obama to enter backstage.

Canham’s locker room hosted a mass gathering of security personnel and medical workers intertwined in wires. “It seemed odd,” the U-M employee mused. “Hundreds of communication wires and cables were strung through the old building’s large open windows. How secure was that?”