Northwestern University is seeking permits from the City of Evanston to begin construction of a new facility on the north end of campus next month to provide space for parking, recreation, clinical services and academic programs.
The new facility will have 1,125 parking spaces, new weight and fitness rooms, the School of Communication audiology clinic and space for other academic programs.
The new facility, which will replace an existing surface parking lot, will be connected to the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion/Norris Aquatics Center on the north end of Northwestern’s Evanston campus. As a result, people will be able to go directly from the new facility into the sports center.
Northwestern is seeking the necessary approvals from the Evanston Preservation Commission to proceed with the work. As required by the Evanston preservation ordinance, approval from the Preservation Commission is needed. Northwestern is scheduled to present plans for the facility at a meeting of the Preservation Commission tonight.
North Campus Drive, the road that runs from Lincoln Street south into campus, will be relocated to the west of the new building.
The first floor of the new building will provide space for a new weight room and fitness studios, as well as office space and meeting rooms for fitness and recreation staff. The new building will abut the west side of the current sports and recreation center, and a new entrance to the center will be created on the south side of that building.
“The new facility will provide significantly expanded and improved space for fitness, wellness and other programs for use by the entire Northwestern community,” said Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation.
The facility is part of a planned major athletics and recreation complex on the north end of Northwestern’s Evanston campus. Other components of the complex include a large multipurpose facility, renovations and additions to the Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatics Center, and enhancements to the field hockey and lacrosse/soccer fields.
Additional space on the first floor and on the second floor of the new parking structure will be used by Northwestern’s audiology clinic and speech/language/learning clinic, which serve children and adults with hearing and speech health care needs. The new space will provide improved and expanded space for clinical diagnosis and treatment, as well as faculty offices.
Other space on the first and second floors will be used for academic programs for the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science.
The new structure will provide six levels of parking totaling 1,125 spaces, replacing the approximately 400 spaces in the current surface lot at that location and approximately 450 spaces that will be eliminated when construction of a new building for the Kellogg School of Management begins later this year.
The additional spaces created by the new building will make parking more plentiful in the north campus area while providing capacity for future campus development, said Ron Nayler, associate vice president for facilities management.
Construction of the parking garage portion of the new building is slated to be completed early in 2014, with development of the recreational and office spaces occurring later that year. The first phase of the project is estimated to cost more than $40 million.
When construction begins, the existing lot will be closed. The parking lot east of Kemper Hall, located just to the north, will remain open, as will the lot east of the sports and aquatics center and the lot east of Frances Searle and Cook halls.
“We anticipate that there will be some disruption in traffic and parking patterns during construction, but when the new structure is complete, we will have additional parking, improved recreational facilities, and new space for academic and clinical programs,” Nayler said.
Top: A rendering of the new fitness center and parking garage.