Northwestern has hired Kansas City, Mo.-based architectural firm HNTB as the project’s lead architect, the same firm that designed Allegiant Stadium, home of the Las Vegas Raiders. Perkins & Will is also working on the Ryan Field project as Associate Design Architect.
“The world of intercollegiate athletics is changing rapidly,” Gragg said in a statement to Crain’s. “The design of the new stadium takes into account the expectations of the modern fan – an incredible setting to experience Big Ten football, incredible sight lines and a premium experience for every seat in the house.”
A new element that could spark controversy among residents of Evanston and Wilmette is the school’s intention to host concerts on the site, “because a facility like this cannot be financially viable on just seven football games,” Johnson’s statement read.
Johnson added that the school “plans to host a limited number of concerts each year,” but does not yet offer a specific number of events. NU “intends to work closely with the City of Evanston, residents and community partners to determine the optimal number of concerts per year.”
The school’s statement cites preliminary studies that suggest “current gigging interest in the area could generate more than $35 million in new tax revenue for the town of Evanston from Northwestern in the first decade. of the new Ryan Field”.
It remains unclear whether Evanston officials will support the vision, said Joe Flanagan, an Evanston business owner who leads an economic recovery task force for the city that formed during the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19. The prospect of new tax revenue and economic activity in the region is welcome, but the question will be how many more major events will be added to Ryan Field’s schedule.
“That’s going to be the rub,” Flanagan said. “My feeling is that the city (residents) are on board, but it’s the (Evanston City) council that needs to come on board.”
The school said it will share more diagrams and images of the plan with residents in a series of listening sessions as it seeks necessary approvals from the city of Evanston. Gragg said the school expects to finalize details “in the coming weeks” on where it will play football games in the two seasons when the stadium is under construction.
Aon founder, Pat Ryan, and his wife, Shirley, have been by far the biggest benefactors of Northwestern’s sports program, providing high-profile donations for the $270 million development of the Ryan Fieldhouse sports complex on the the school’s lakeside campus and a $110 million renovation of Welsh-Ryan. Arena immediately north of Ryan Field.
Last year’s $480 million donation was the largest in school history and capped a seven-year fundraising campaign that has raised more than $6 billion. Ryan’s donation is used to support the university’s Feinberg School of Medicine, Institute for Global Health, Center for Applied Microeconomics, and Kellogg School of Management, in addition to the Ryan Field project.
“Our family’s commitment to athletics runs much deeper than football. It’s about developing body, mind and soul, which is what we experienced as undergraduates at Northwestern and have carried with us throughout our lives,” Pat Ryan said in the school statement. “The new Ryan Field will be more than an incredible home for Wildcat football. Our hope is that through this new stadium campus, Ryan Field is reimagined as an important year-round architectural gathering place for Northeast communities. west and Evanston which is accessible to everything.”
The Ryans financially backed the stadium’s last overhaul in 1997, when it was renamed Ryan Field from the original Dyche Stadium. But the site has become very dated compared to its peers and remains the only major college football stadium without permanent lighting.
The school estimated that dismantling the stadium and building a new stadium would generate over $10 million in direct costs to the city of Evanston and over $600 million in indirect economic impact. The project would create more than 2,900 construction jobs.