It has been over a year since Northwestern announced plans for a multipurpose athletic facility on the shores of Lake Michigan and according to the Chicago Tribune, the school is finally ready to move forward with the plans after receiving input from coaches and athletic administrators.
The Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein is reporting that “donations have poured in” and construction of the two-building athletic complex “will begin by early 2015 and should take about two years to complete.” Costs “are likely to exceed” the original estimate of $220 million.
The artist renderings of the facility are extremely impressive and Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald called the facility a “game-changer” for his program. Equipped with views on the Chicago skyline, Fitzgerald’s goal is to have a facility where the team “will eat, study film and practice” on the north end of campus.
This will be the first upgrade to Northwestern’s football facilities since a $30 million renovation to Ryan Field in 1997. The school also built an indoor practice facility about a mile from campus at that time. With this new facility, the team will be able to stay on campus to get work in. According to the Tribune, the facilities “border a beach and (are) within steps of NU dorms and fraternity houses.”
Despite a disappointing 5-7 finish last season, the Northwestern program, led by Fitzgerald, has been on an upswing in recent years – especially 2012’s 10-3 campaign. These facilities will obviously be a major boost in the school’s recruiting efforts. Fitzgerald has already done an admirable job getting some highly-rated recruits to Evanston in recent years. Having these facilities to pitch will be an added boost.
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