Northwestern University has announced a design competition for a new athletics and recreation complex planned for its Evanston campus.

Northwestern will invite architectural firms with substantial accomplishments in designing collegiate sports and recreation facilities or similar buildings to submit expressions of interest and statements of qualifications to Northwestern’s Facilities Management office early next year.

The complex will include several components: A large indoor multipurpose facility will provide room for major events, such as the University’s annual new student convocation; indoor practice and a competition venue for intercollegiate sports; and space for recreation, club sports and intramurals.

The new facilities and renovation of the existing Dellora A. and Lester J. Norris Aquatics Center and Henry Crown Sports Pavilion include new practice, training and competition venues for Northwestern’s varsity sports, a new diving well, new locker rooms, a new weight room and offices.

“The lakefront site for this spectacular new facility will serve all of our students, student-athletes, faculty and staff,” said Jim Phillips, Northwestern’s vice president for athletics and recreation. “This prominent location demands a signature design that supports the transformational practice, training and competition facilities that we envision for the Evanston campus.”

After receiving initial proposals, the University will select firms to attend preliminary interviews. Based upon interviews and review of responses to a request for qualifications, Northwestern will select four to six firms for the final stage of the competition.

Competitors will be given programmatic information about the site, building component sizes, phasing and other building needs to enable each firm to submit a preliminary schematic design to Northwestern. Required submissions for the competition will include a model and appropriate drawings, among other materials. Plans will be submitted to Northwestern administrators and the Educational Properties Committee of the University’s Board of Trustees. 

“We believe this process gives us the best opportunity to obtain an outstanding design for this critical location,” said Ron Nayler, associate vice president for Facilities Management.  “We’ve successfully used this process to select architects for the new building we’re constructing for the Bienen School of Music and School of Communication and for the new building we’re designing for the Kellogg School of Management.”   

The selection of the winning design by the Educational Properties Committee of Northwestern’s Board of Trustees is expected to occur late next summer.

The timetable for construction of the new athletic and recreational facilities is dependent on fundraising.

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  1. A place to play…but can they win?

    Case in point as to why people question the University's ability to plan for the long term: this is the second time they have remodeled Crown in 20 years…. (Give or take a few)! Do they think these facilities will contribute to more competitive teams other than women's lacrossse? Yeah, me neither….

  2. Inability to plan for the long term? Competitive teams?

    The last 'remodeling' involved (among other things) the creation of a fabulous indoor tennis center.  Guess what?  NU women have won 12 of the past 14 Big Ten tennis championships.  Did the facilities contribute to more competitive teams?  Of course; ask the recruits who come here.

  3. Yard signs now!

    OMG no!  What if the new plan also snubs its nose at Fisk hall with a different type of window opening and creates another blight upon the context of Evanston?

    NU is doing it again, planning to embrace and meet the future while intentionally insulting the sensibilities of long time Evanston residents.  It must be stopped, we need yard signs now.  That bad old NU.

    1. They can build on top of Fisk

      They can build on top of Fisk Hall for all I care. I just don't have a whole lot of trust in an institution that calls a parking garage a "visitor's center" and proposes to build it on the beach all the while the city that endorses such a scam. At the end of the day land swapping, trading and selling is a bad precedent!

  4. Rec complex more give aways of city land?

    The vistor center is going to cost the taxpayers a 1/2  an acre of city parkland which NU will lease for $1. another council and Mayor sweet heart deal.  I think NU should have paid at $50,000 for the use of our land.per year.That is if we should have even given them the option of using our parkland for their vistor center.

    By the way Wally mentioned not so long ago at Council about a land exchange with NU, so now what is up?

    Maybe Grover and the Mayor can get NU to pay for the sport center on Oakton or for that matter make a real payment for Robert Crown.   Wally is now claiming the Robert Crown deal is going to be a private public partnership, as I recall it was at NO cost to us taxpayers.  Robert Crown is a total screw up, if it goes forward it will add at least 3 million to the budget per year, maybe NU can help?  I am not holding my breath.

    NU how about $1 million dollars a year for recreation needs for Evanston Children, given you will be spending plenty more.

    City Council stop giving your friends at NU $1 land deals!

  5. NU land

    Remember the original land that was granted to NU.  I don't recall the south boundary but the NW went all the way to Central and Asbury !   Thus think how much NU gave back to the city.

    Maybe the city needs to get permission from NU to build anywhere.

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