Construction closes Henry Crown basketball courts and track

Kelli Nguyen, Reporter

The Henry Crown Sports Pavilion basketball gymnasium and track will be closed for the next two years due to construction.

“(Northwestern is) closing the track and the basketball courts to take them down and then lower (them) into the ground, then essentially build them back up and build (Ryan) Fieldhouse kind of on top of them,” said Peter Parcell, associate director of facility operations for the Department of Athletics and Recreation.

The new Ryan Fieldhouse and Walter Athletics Center will include an indoor athletic field, training space, more seating and sports medicine facilities. There will also be locker rooms, a nutrition center, a dining facility and office space, in addition to the newly renovated basketball courts and track.

“I truly think this is a groundbreaking and game-changing facility,” Parcell said.

To compensate for the lost court space, Fitness and Recreation has added more than 40 total hours this Winter Quarter to both the Patten Gymnasium and Blomquist Recreation Center schedules.

“We’ve added extra time earlier in the day and we’ve added extra time later in the day to try to spread out our club needs, our intramural needs, and also for open rack,” Parcell said.

Patten and Blomquist have a total of five basketball courts between the two facilities. Parcell said the idea is that the extended hours will offset the effects of closing the Crown Sports Pavilion courts.

“It is very difficult to replace three basketball courts on campus,” Parcell said. “There are definitely going to be times of the day when we feel it’s going to be harder to support the need.”

As for the inaccessible track, NU Recreation has purchased 10 self-powered treadmills for Crown Sports Pavilion. The new equipment will be housed in one of the racquetball courts, which will be turned into a cardio space.

“I don’t think it will ever completely satisfy, but it will start to satisfy some of the needs of campus for people to do cardiovascular workouts and things,” Parcell said.

The equipment that had previously been set up around the track has been relocated throughout the facility.

Weinberg freshmen Karolina Leziak said she used the track at least once a week during Fall Quarter. She said that although the closure has had no effect on how often she works out, it has made exercising more inconvenient.

“I go downstairs to the weight room, but all the machines are always taken,” Leziak said.

Weinberg junior Scott Flanzman has been playing basketball at Crown Sports Pavilion since freshman year. He said what frustrates him the most about the construction is the lack of student input that went into its planning.

“Maybe it’s just me, but it just seems like it came out of nowhere and for there to be no discussion among the student body and no explanation, it didn’t feel right,” he said.

Flanzman said the diminished court space coupled with the upcoming intramural basketball season has made it nearly impossible to play a pickup game of basketball.

“Everyone needs some sort of outlet,” Flanzman said. “For me especially that’s always been going to (Crown Sports Pavilion) to play basketball. It was a good way to relieve stress and it sort of just threw me off, having that outlet torn down.”

Despite the challenges, Parcell said that ultimately he believes the construction at Crown Sports Pavilion will improve the facilities for students, providing more space and opportunities for varsity, club and intramural teams.

“I definitely think that there is going to be an added advantage to indoor field space, that is going to be a really nice attribute to the facility,” he said.

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