Populous-designed Master Plan for Northwestern University Unveiled

September 19, 2012


Northwestern University unveiled a Populous-designed plan for athletic and recreational activities to their Board of Trustees this past week. The plan, which Populous was commissioned to develop in late 2010, was approved by the board and will include a major complex for athletic and recreational activities and a new parking structure on the north end of its main Evanston campus.

The plan suggested the following: a large indoor multipurpose facility which will provide room for major events; indoor practice and a competition venue for intercollegiate sports; and space for recreation, club sports and intramurals. Populous recommended the new facilities and renovation of the existing Dellora A. and Lester J. Norris Aquatics Center and Henry Crown Sports Pavilion to include new practice, training and competition venues for Northwestern’s varsity sports, a new diving well, new locker rooms and new space for aerobics, yoga and other group exercise classes.

“I think this is a game-changer in every regard and a major step forward for the University,” said Northwestern University President Morton Schapiro at a news conference Saturday, accompanied by William Osborn, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Jim Phillips, Northwestern’s director of athletics and recreation. “This new plan suggests greatly enhanced recreational facilities for all of our students, increased parking at the north end of campus and improved key areas for our athletic programs.”

“Populous’ plan will provide state-of-the-art practice, training and competition facilities for our varsity sports that will have a transformational effect on the entire Northwestern community,” said Jim Phillips, director of athletics and recreation. “Our goal is to provide a world-class experience academically, socially and athletically for each and every one of our student-athletes, and this development ensures that we will have world-class venues to do that.”

With offices around the globe, including Kansas City and Denver, Populous is a global architecture firm that specializes in arenas, stadiums, ballparks and convention centers. The firm has completed work for more than 130 colleges and universities on projects including football stadiums, arenas, ballparks, training facilities and athletic master plans, like the one just completed for Northwestern University.

“Northwestern University’s commitment to developing state-of-the-art facilities for varsity sports is a vital step in ensuring the longevity and continued success of their athletics programs,” said Kelly Kerns, Project Manager and Principal at Populous. “The master plan was developed to fulfill the unique needs of Northwestern. As such, we worked closely with the University to create a plan that integrates student athletes with other students and faculty to enhance their daily experiences.”

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