Northwestern Wildcats unveil plans for new football stadium


EVANSTON, Ill. – Northwestern on Wednesday unveiled plans to build a new Ryan Field and replace the current 97-year-old football stadium with a state-of-the-art facility featuring reduced seating capacity and a greater emphasis on the fan experience.

The school said the stadium could accommodate 35,000 people, down more than 12,000 from the current Ryan Field, and would feature a canopy designed to keep noise and light concentrated on the pitch. It would include state-of-the-art technology and dashboards, as well as concessions with food from local restaurants.

Northwestern said the stadium will earn Gold LEED certification and “set a new standard” for accessibility. The plan includes outdoor seating, a community park and other green spaces that could be used year-round.

Northwestern said it also plans to host “a limited number” of concerts.

The project which athletic director Derrick Gragg called “transformational” was made possible a year ago with a $480 million donation from the family of Patrick and Shirley Ryan, the largest in the history of the club. ‘school. Part of this money also funds university projects. The school said the Ryans are committed to increasing the donation to ensure funding for the stadium and seats does not come at the expense of “research, scholarships, student aid, tuition or support from staff and faculty”.

It’s unclear where the football team would play during construction, assuming the city of Evanston, Illinois approves the project. The school said it was “exploring all options”.

The current Ryan Field opened in 1926 and expanded in 1949 and 1952. The stadium underwent a complete renovation in 1997 with a donation from the Ryans.

In recent years, Northwestern has also built a sparkling lakeside practice facility and renovated its basketball arena.

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