Northwestern plans to open its Lakefront Athletics and Recreation Center within two years, athletic director Jim Phillips said Saturday.
Construction of the facility is set to begin on the north end of campus after a groundbreaking ceremony this Friday. The project includes Ryan Fieldhouse, a football practice facility that will have multiple uses, and the Walter Athletics Center, which will house academic services, training facilities and dining for student-athletes and offices for coaches and administrators.
I am over-the top-excited for our student athletes,’’ Phillips said of the $260 million project. “That’s a staggering amount, but it’s necessary for our student-athletes and our recreation components. With the location, right on the shores of Lake Michigan, I’m not sure there’s another facility that will have the beauty of that.’’
Alumni donors Patrick and Shirley Ryan and Mark and Kimbra Walter enabled the plans to become reality.
“This was driven initially by football,’’ Phillips said. “But it has an absolute residual for other varsity sports and the campus community.’’
The facility will enable Northwestern to keep pace in the expanding world of Big Ten sports.
“There’s a price for staying in that level of competition,’’ Phillips said. “That’s something we embrace. We’re not running from it. It’s absolutely necessary. I’m really excited about it. It’s something our student-athletes deserve. And something our students deserve.’’