University dedicates new lakeside athletic facilities


Bobby Pillote/Daily Senior Staffer

Lester Crown and his wife Renee Crown (center) cut the ribbon for the newly re-dedicated Henry Crown Sports Pavilion. The facility reopened this fall after a nearly 30,000-square-feet expansion.

Bobby Pillote, Assistant Sports Editor

Northwestern celebrated Thursday its renovated athletics facilities located on both ends of campus with two dedication ceremonies, one for the new Sailing Center and one for the remodeled Henry Crown Sports Pavilion.

University President Morton Schapiro addressed a small crowd at both events, and spoke about his long-term vision for revamping NU’s lakeside architecture.

“We have to do a better job incorporating Lake Michigan and the beach into the fabric of our campus,” he said. “We’re doing that now.”

The new Sailing Center offers major upgrades over the previous facility, said Dan Bulfin, director of recreational sports. At the ceremony, he said the new building now has basic amenities, including running water, heating and air conditioning and showers, that were absent from the old structure.

The space is also expected to be a boon to the NU Sailing Team, said Commodore Travis Cottle, the team’s leader. The McCormick senior said the team has qualified for nationals four of the past five years and now “has the amenities to match.”

Cottle added that NU is one of only two schools in the Midwest with an on-campus boathouse, allowing the team to spend more time practicing and less time traveling. He said he was most excited about an expanded classroom space, featuring televisions and wall-to-wall whiteboards.

Tadhg Martin, who directs the center, emphasized the importance of having additional space.

“Now we can put stuff where it belongs,” he said.

Bulfin, along with Jim Phillips, vice president for Athletics and Recreation, also introduced the revamped Henry Crown Sports Pavilion on Thursday. Phillips spoke about the facility’s high usage, saying more than 325,000 visits were made last year.

Nearly 30,000 square feet of new space was added to accommodate the heavy usage, Bulfin said.

McCormick junior James Pisano, a student supervisor at Crown Sports Pavilion, also spoke at the rededication.

“The opening of the new gym has been the most anticipated event of my Northwestern career,” he said.

Pisano met frequently with Bulfin during the renovation process, relaying student input and feedback. He was also responsible for keeping students updated on the project’s progress. He said he believed the University greatly considered student usage of the old facilities when making additions, including dedicated dance studios.

Bulfin said NU’s athletic and recreational facilities are different from those at other schools because students, staff and alumni mingle at Crown Sports Pavilion. Pisano agreed with the sentiment.

“The gym is one of the University’s largest social spheres,” Pisano said.

Lester Crown, son of the late Henry Crown, was present at the event and participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony to officially rededicate the renovated building.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @BobbyPillote