'Transformational stadium': Northwestern University releases proposed Ryan Field renderings

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Thursday, September 29, 2022
Northwestern University releases renderings for proposed Ryan Field renovation
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The new Ryan Field stadium campus will be built on the current stadium footprint and be funded entirely by private dollars.

EVANSTON, Ill. (WLS) -- Northwestern University releases design renderings Wednesday for a new Ryan Field that will replace the current 97-year-old structure.

The proposed design includes capacity for 35,000 people, which is 12,000 less than the current field.

The university said the new proposal is designed to "emphasize fan experience, accessibility, sustainability while creating a year-round community asset for Northwestern and Evanston communities."

The new Ryan Field stadium campus will be funded entirely by private dollars.

"We are extremely excited to move forward with a transformational stadium project and grateful to our University leadership and to the Board of Trustees for their decision to take the next steps toward a new Ryan Field," said Dr. Derrick Gragg, Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation. "We are all grateful to the Ryan Family for their unwavering commitment to Northwestern University and our academic and athletics programs. I have no doubt that the privately funded stadium will be a gamechanger for our football program, athletics department and the community, and will be in line with our other excellent facilities including Welsh-Ryan Arena and Ryan Fieldhouse."

The Ryan Family's gift was the largest in Northwestern history, and included funding not only for the new stadium, but the largest academic gifts in the history of Northwestern to accelerate breakthroughs in biomedical, economics and business research, according to the university.

"Our family's commitment to athletics is much deeper than football. It's about developing the body, mind and soul, which we experienced as undergraduates at Northwestern and have carried with us throughout our lives," said Pat Ryan. "The new Ryan Field will be more than just an amazing home for Wildcat football. Our hope is that through this new stadium campus, Ryan Field is reimagined as an architecturally significant year-round gathering place for the Northwestern and Evanston communities that is accessible to all."

Northwestern President Michael Schill called the plans for the new Ryan Field an important step for the University and the Evanston community.

"I am excited about this project, which will create a world-class new stadium that is befitting our world-class institution, our amazing student-athletes, our fans, our alumni and the Evanston community," President Schill said. "I appreciate all the work my predecessor and the leadership team at the University have done to actively listen and solicit input from the community. I am looking forward to continuing that engagement and look forward to seeing this project come to fruition."

Construction of the new stadium project is projected to generate more than $10 million in direct fees and more than $600 million in indirect economic development for the City of Evanston, according to a press release.

The university also said they are exploring all options to secure venues for the Wildcats to play during construction.