Athletic director Jim Phillips announces Ryan Fieldhouse groundbreaking

Sophia Bollag, Editor in Chief

Northwestern will break ground next week on a $260 million lakeside athletic facility scheduled to be completed in two years.

The Lakefront Athletics and Recreation Complex will incorporate facilities for athletes and students, athletic director Jim Phillips said at a news conference Saturday. It will include fields for varsity and intramural sports and can host convocations and the annual Dance Marathon fundraiser, Phillips said.

“I’m over-the-top-excited for our student athletes,” he said. “This new facility in the heart of Northwestern’s incomparable campus will integrate that experience even more fully into our remarkable university community.”

The facility will be on the North Campus lakeshore. NU will hold a groundbreaking ceremony Friday afternoon.

The Ryan Fieldhouse section of the complex will include a full-sized indoor athletic field and locker rooms for multiple varsity teams. The complex will also include the Walter Athletics Center, which will incorporate the football team headquarters and a dining facility.

At a news conference following NU’s victory over Penn State on Saturday, football coach Pat Fitzgerald said he looks forward to the new on-campus facility.

“It’s a game-changer for us from our standpoint that our campus and our student-athletes, all of our student-athletes, are now fully integrated,” he said. “I’m obviously selfishly excited for football but more importantly excited for our great university.”

Hosting DM in the new athletics facility would lower costs for the 30-hour event and would decrease the registration fee for dancers, DM executive co-chair Arielle Miller said. However, she said the group has no definite plans to move the event. DM currently holds its annual Winter Quarter fundraiser in a tent outside Norris University center.

“We are speaking to university administration about the future of the tradition with hopes of continuing to make it even more accessible to low-income students,” Miller, a Medill senior, wrote in an email to The Daily.

Phillips called the lakeside facility the first step in a facilities master plan for athletics and recreation but declined to give details on further projects.

“We need to devise the plan,” he said. “We have an idea of what we’d like to do, but today I’m not ready to make any bold statements.”

Alex Putterman contributed reporting.

This post was updated at 6:01 p.m. on Nov. 8 to include comments from football coach Pat Fitzgerald.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @SophiaBollag