University announces construction of athletic facilities on North Campus

    Image courtesy of Northwestern News Center.

    The University announced plans Saturday to build several new athletic facilities on North Campus, in addition to a 1,200-space parking garage and an expansion of SPAC.

    The new facilities will include an indoor "competition venue" with seating for 2,500 that will cover a large part of what is now North Beach, according to the University's plan. Another addition will be a "lakefront athletic training facility" that extends eastward from SPAC,  as well as a "varsity practice field" directly south of the current soccer/lacrosse field (the grassy area where Dillo Day is traditionally held).

    “This will provide state-of-the-art, transformational practice, training and competition facilities for our varsity sports,” said Jim Phillips, director of athletics 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."

    The new parking complex will replace the current surface parking lot west of SPAC. The expansion will supposedly make up for the loss of the two parking lots south of Silverman Hall which are set to be replaced by a two-acre green space.

    The announced projects are all part of the University's long-term Framework Plan, which was adopted in 2009 "after extensive input from students, faculty and staff" and "calls for improved recreational and athletic facilities on the main campus, creation of additional green space in the center of campus and moving parking to the edges of campus," according to the University. 

    The total construction will come at an estimated cost of $220 million. Pending fundraising, the timetable for construction is still unknown.


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