Weather Updates

Pat Fitzgerald says new athletic complex is game-changer

Updated: October 17, 2012 6:52AM

Northwestern announced plans to build an athletic complex on the north end of campus, which would move the football team’s offices, locker rooms and practice fields one mile east of their current location near Ryan Field to the main campus.

The announcement came after approval by the board of trustees Saturday. The plan calls for a large indoor multipurpose facility, an indoor practice-and-competition venue for college sports teams and space for club sports, intramurals and recreation. The Dellora A. and Lester J. Norris Aquatics Center and Henry Crown Sports Pavilion would also be renovated.

Construction is expected to cost approximately $220 billion. The timetable is dependent on fund-raising. The plan includes renovation of Welsh-Ryan Arena.

“Football is the engine that drives this department,” athletics director Jim Phillips said. “It’s the emotional engine. It’s the financial engine. We have to invest not only in all our sports, but especially in football. This will allow the football program to be in the heart of campus.”

“This is a game-changer,” coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “This completely changes the landscape of Big Ten football and college football. ... I don’t care where anyone else builds a facility, they won’t be building it on the shores of Lake Michigan like we will.”

Extra points

† Defensive end Deonte Gibson returned after sitting out last week’s game against Vanderbilt with an elbow injury.

† Freshman Traveon Henry made his debut at safety, forfeiting his redshirt year.

† Senior Neal Deiters started at right guard in place of Chuck Porcelli .

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.