Northwestern University has announced plans to proceed with construction of a $220-million complex for athletic and recreational activities at the north end of its campus in Evanston, Ill. Plans also call for renovations to the existing Dellora A. and Lester J. Norris Aquatics Center and Henry Crown Sports Pavilion.
“This new plan will provide greatly enhanced recreational facilities for all of our students, increased parking at the north end of campus and improved areas for our athletic programs,” said Morton Schapiro, Northwestern president, at a Saturday news conference. “This is a game-changer in every regard for the University.”
At the same event, William Osborn, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, noted the new athletics complex was the "culmination" of years of planning by the University.
The timetable for construction of the facilities is dependent on funding, though Schapiro indicated fundraising for the project will be “a No. 1 priority” for Northwestern.
Once construction is complete, all Northwestern football activities will be consolidated on the main campus rather than at Ryan Field, which will continue to host games.
In addition to a multipurpose/indoor practice facility with seating for 2,500, the new complex will include an outdoor practice field for varsity sports, club sports and intramurals; sports medicine facilities, meeting rooms and offices; and a 1,200-space parking structure. The first floor will contain fitness studios, weight rooms and other areas for exercise and recreation.
“The improvements will provide better integration of our student-athletes with other students on our main campus, reducing the divide that manifests when there are separate facilities for student-athletes, as occurs at many other institutions,” said Phillips
The plan, which was adopted in 2009 after extensive input from students, faculty and staff, calls for improved recreational and athletic facilities on the main campus, creation of additional green space at the center of campus and relocation of parking to the edges of campus.