Northwestern University released renders of a proposed design for a new soccer stadium on Wednesday to replace 97-year-old Ryan Field.
Last year’s $ 6.1 billion fundraiser ensures that the construction of the 35,000-seat stadium will not require taxpayer funding, harm the university’s research efforts, or be at the expense of students, faculty and staff, according to school officials.
“I have no doubt that the privately funded stadium will be a breakthrough for our soccer program, athletics and community, and will align with our other great venues including the Welsh-Ryan Arena and Ryan Fieldhouse,” said Vice President Athletics & Recreation Dr. Derrick Gragg.
The design of the new Ryan Field is based on feedback received over the past year from members of the Evanston community at meetings organized by Eleanor Revelle 7th Ward Councilor. Many residents wanted less traffic and noise on match days, while others suggested using the new facility all year round for concerts and other social events.
University officials said it was one of the reasons they proposed 35,000 seats, 12,000 fewer than the current Ryan Field that would be demolished. They also plan to add a canopy over the new stadium to reduce noise and light pollution in the area during matches. In addition, if approved, the new Ryan Field will include tailfan squares, a community park, and public green spaces modeled after Chicago’s Maggie Daley Park. The facility would also replace existing stadium benches with comfortable seats, as well as include modern scoreboards and stands provided by local restaurants.
According to the university statement, since the new stadium will not be profitable if only seven football matches are played each season, the school will also consider allowing some concerts, but has not decided how many.
The massive project still needs a green light from Evanston, but before it starts going through the eligibility process, Northwestern will spend several months collecting more feedback from community and city officials about the proposal, according to Northwestern President Michael Schill.
The school’s lucrative fundraiser was pushed beyond the goal line thanks to a $ 480 million gift, the biggest in its history, from the family of Patrick and Shirley Ryan. The gift will also support biomedical and economic research.
“The new Ryan Field will be more than just an amazing home to Wildcat football,” said Patrick Ryan, a Northwestern graduate and retired CEO of Aon Corp. a significant year-round meeting place for the Northwestern and Evanston communities that is accessible to all ”.
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