After a whole lot of waiting, Northwestern is finally ready to break ground on its much-anticipated lakefront athletics complex.
The school announced Friday that the groundbreaking ceremony will be held Nov. 13 and that construction will begin immediately.
The complex has two main components: Ryan Fieldhouse and the Walter Athletics Center. The fieldhouse will house an indoor field for football practice and many other uses, as well as a new weight room, locker rooms and sports medicine facilities. The Walter Athletics Center will be the headquarters for the football program, with offices, meeting rooms, locker rooms and a weight room, as well as a nutrition center, dining room and academic offices benefitting all student-athletes.
The positives for student-athletes are numerous, but chief among them might be location. The new complex will be on the lakefront campus in Evanston. Currently, facilities for the football team and other athletes are located at Ryan Field and Welsh-Ryan Arena, about a mile west of campus.
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The new complex is expected to provide a big recruiting advantage for Northwestern football.
"This is a landmark day for our entire campus community," Northwestern athletics director Jim Phillips said in the announcement. "Ryan Fieldhouse and the Walter Athletics Center will provide the finest support, training and developmental facilities for Northwestern student-athletes in an incomparable location. This transformational facility will seamlessly integrate athletics into the heart of campus, offer new recreational opportunities for Northwestern students, faculty and staff and enhance the use of the lakefront by the entire Evanston community. We are tremendously excited to begin construction and realize this vision."
Construction on some of the project's aspects began over the summer, with a new outdoor football practice field and renovations of fields for soccer, field hockey and lacrosse already underway.
Northwestern included this rendering in the announcement: