Northwestern Announces New Athletics/Rec Complex
Northwestern University will conduct a design competition for a new athletics and recreation complex planned for its Evanston campus, University officials announced on October 25.
The large indoor multipurpose facility will provide room for major events, such as the University’s annual new student convocation; indoor practice and a competition venue for intercollegiate sports; and space for recreation, club sports, and intramurals. The new facilities and renovation of the existing Dellora A. and Lester J. Norris Aquatics Center and Henry Crown Sports Pavilion include new practice, training, and competition venues for Northwestern’s varsity sports, a new diving well, new locker rooms and new space for aerobics, yoga, and other exercise classes.
The University also plans to build a 1,200-car parking garage that will be located on the existing surface parking lot located west of the current sports and aquatics center. Preliminary estimates for the cost of the new sports complex and related construction are approximately $220 million.
“This new plan will provide greatly enhanced recreational facilities for all of our students, increased parking at the north end of campus and improved key areas for our athletic programs,” said Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro. “This will be a benefit to many members of the Northwestern community.”
"I think this is a game-changer in every regard and a major step forward for the University," Schapiro said at a news conference Saturday, accompanied by William Osborn, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Jim Phillips, Northwestern's director of athletics and recreation.
Osborn said the new athletics complex was the "culmination" of years of planning by the University, noting that Northwestern was making great use of its limited space to improve its athletic programs in a way that would benefit the entire student body and the University as a whole. He used the word "optionality" to describe how the plan succeeded in getting support from the trustees, because the new facilities are designed to be used by multiple University constituents.
Schapiro and Phillips both thanked the board of trustees in their remarks.
Schapiro noted that fundraising for the project will be "a number one priority" for Northwestern in the near future.
Phillips observed that the new complex will reaffirm Northwestern's reputation as a "world-class university," and he added that investing in facilities will help with recruiting, as well.