University announces new visitors center plans

    Northwestern officials announced new plans to build a visitors center and parking garage catering to prospective students and their parents in a statement released early Friday morning.

    The new visitors center plans. Photo courtesy of Northwestern University.

    The plan for the center comes on the tails of the announcement of a new building for the Bienen School of Music and School of Communication and gives a more comprehensive look at what Northwestern sees as the future of South Campus. The university hopes the buildings will “transform and enhance” the south end of campus, to the tune of $151 million.

    Construction is scheduled to begin this summer and the building is expected to open in the summer of 2014. The visitors center, designed by Chicago architectural firm of Perkins+Will, includes an auditorium, meeting rooms and offices for admissions staff. The statement also announced plans to demolish the existing boathouse on South Beach and build a new boathouse to be used by the University’s sailing club near the new center.

    “The new visitors center will provide a beautiful new front door for Northwestern and enable us to start campus tours on the main part of campus, rather than having to cross Sheridan Road with large groups of visitors,” said Michael Mills, associate provost for enrollment management, in the statement. “With a new center located directly on the lakefront, we’ll give visitors a wonderful first impression of Northwestern.”

    The two-story parking garage on the south end of campus will be replaced with a 120-foot-wide “green space” that will lead to Lake Michigan from the new buildings. (Perhaps they read what Max Brawer had to say about real estate around campus?)


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