New complex will keep Wildcats on campus

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern announced Saturday its board of trustees had approved plans to build a major athletic and recreational complex, which will include indoor and outdoor football training facilities, along the lakefront at the north end of its Evanston campus.

The Wildcats’ football facilities are currently located near Ryan Field to the west of its campus.

“I think the idea today in today’s world is to try to make things as seamless as possible for your sports,” Northwestern athletic director Jim Phillips said on Saturday. “I’ve said publicity and privately that football is the engine that drives us. It’s the emotional engine; it’s the financial engine.

“This will allow our football program to be in the heart of campus and go seamlessly between training, classes, film work and practice and weights and meetings and everything football student-athletes do on a day-to-day basis like never before at Northwestern.”

The new complex will include a multipurpose indoor facility with seating for 2,500, a diving well adjacent to the existing swimming pool, an outdoor practice facility for varsity sports, club sports and intramurals, locker rooms, fitness and weight room, sports medicine facilities, meeting rooms, offices and a 1,200-space parking structure.

The cost of the project has been estimated to cost $220 million, and the timetable is dependent on fundraising.