Athletic complex parking construction to begin this week

Joseph Diebold, Web Editor

The first shovels for the construction of Northwestern’s new $220 million athletic complex will hit the ground Thursday, when the University begins construction on a six-story parking facility west of the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatics Center.

The current 400-space parking lot will close to allow for the construction, which is expected to be completed in 2014, according to a University news release. Traffic will be diverted to lots south and east of SPAC, as well as one east of Kemper Hall at the corner of Lincoln Street and Campus Drive, until the new 1,125-space garage is finished. The construction of the garage is the first in a series of projects for the lakeside complex, which will include a multipurpose fieldhouse and enhancements to SPAC and existing practice fields. The University announced Jan. 14 it had passed $70 million in fundraising, nearly one-third of the project’s sticker price.

Although construction is now moving forward, the parking garage project hit a snag when the Evanston Preservation Commission split at its Jan. 15 meeting a vote to grant NU a certificate of appropriateness to build on the landmark lot of record at 2311 Sheridan Road. City and University officials left the meeting unsure whether the three “yes” votes of the six-member quorum would be sufficient to grant the certificate.

Ronald Nayler, associate vice president for Facilities Management, confirmed in an email to The Daily last week the city had determined the vote constituted a majority and NU would be seeking the necessary construction permits.

— Joseph Diebold