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Take a look behind the scenes of Bears expansion plan for Halas Hall

In March 2018, the Bears will break ground on an expansion project that doubles the size of Halas Hall, the franchise’s home in north suburban Lake Forest, the team announced on Friday.

General manager Ryan Pace spearheaded the expansion project in an effort to modernize their football operations. Team officials toured college and other NFL facilities in the offseason for ideas.

A 162,500-square-foot building will be added to Halas Hall, their current 143,000-square-foot home. The new building essentially will be a player training and performance center. It will include a 13,000-square-foot indoor turf field, a 133-by-26 video projection wall and a virtual-reality room. The weight room also will be expanded by 2,000 square feet.

Position meeting rooms, the draft room, the caferia and other offices will increase in size as part of the expansion, which was designed by the architecture firm HOK.

This is what the main entrance will look like from the exterior. | Courtesy of Chicago Bears

The sports-medicine area will include a hydrotherapy pool. A new players’ lounge will be added, while the locker room will undergo a 1,700-square-foot expansion.

Mortenson Construction is the general contractor for the project, which is expected to be finished by August 2019.

“The improvements being made at Halas Hall through this development project further exemplify the commitment the organization has to investing in the success of our football operations and making the Bears a premier destination,” team president Ted Phillip said in a statement. “Not only will this project double the size of our first-class facility, it will also allow for many enhanced amenities incorporating state-of-the-art technology and ensure room for future growth.”

A different construction project already is underway at Halas Hall. Two football fields are being added near the Walter Payton Center, the team’s undersized indoor facility that includes only one field. A training slope also will be added.

Take a look at the renderings for the new expansion project:

This is what the main entrance will look like from the exterior. | Courtesy of Chicago Bears

This is what the outdoor practice field and exterior of the rear side of the building will look like. | Courtesy of Chicago Bears

This is what the team’s locker room will look like at Halas Hall. It looks similar to the one they already have. | Courtesy of Chicago Bears