Oct. 28, 2010
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern University will embark on a historic master plan study of its athletics and recreation facilities this fall, with the aim of developing a comprehensive plan for renovation of existing buildings and development of new facilities.
This planning study, which begins in November, will include the athletics campus surrounding Ryan Field as well as playing fields and recreation buildings on the main campus. The final plan will establish an architectural program to align athletic facilities design and use with new services, identify priorities for improvements or options for existing facilities, propose strategies to stage renovations and identify where and when additional facilities may be needed in the future.
In announcing the study, Jim Phillips, director of athletics and recreation, said: "To be certain, we can't express our enthusiasm enough about this athletic facilities master plan. This is a monumental milestone for Northwestern's department of athletics and recreation as well as our entire campus, as this study affects not only our intercollegiate athletic program, but also the recreation program for our students, faculty and staff.
"This is the first step in addressing facility needs and creating a roadmap for our future. We plan to review every athletic facility and recreation building on the main campus before determining the priorities for our department. Enhancing and improving our facilities will allow our coaches and admissions staff to continue attracting the nation's top scholar-athletes to Northwestern University."
An early phase of the study will include assessment of the needs and interests of the University community in relation to existing facilities. Students, faculty and staff will be surveyed to determine their perceptions of current services in order to anticipate possible program changes and develop projections of future use.
The University has selected Populous, an international design practice specializing in sports architecture, to guide the development of the new master plan. Populous previously has created collegiate master plans for a wide range of institutions, including Indiana University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Arizona State University and the University of Washington. In addition to its focus in the world of collegiate athletics, the firm has designed more than 1,000 sports venues around the globe including the main stadium for the 2012 Olympic Games in London; Yankee Stadium; Heinz Field; CONSOL Energy Center and numerous facility master plans.
"A well-planned athletic campus positively impacts everything from the fan gameday experience to fundraising and even student-athlete recruiting," said Nate Appleman, Populous associate principal leading the Northwestern master plan project. "We're excited to get started on the project with Northwestern because it's a hugely vital first step in ensuring the longevity and ultimate success of Northwestern athletics while enhancing students' daily lives."
A University-wide advisory committee, representing various campus constituencies including several student groups, will work with the Department of Athletics and Recreation and the consulting team from Populous during the course of the study. When the draft of the facilities master plan is ready next spring, it will be presented to the University community for review and evaluation. Northwestern students, faculty and staff will have the opportunity to comment on the draft plan at open meetings to be scheduled at various locations on campus.
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Since inception in 1983, Populous has grown into the world's leading design firm dedicated exclusively to creating environments that draw people and communities together for unforgettable experiences. The firm has completed more than 1,000 projects around the globe with construction value exceeding $20 billion. Populous has worked with 24 Major League Baseball franchises, 30 NFL franchises, 80 professional and civic arena clients, 40 global soccer and rugby teams, 120 universities, 40 convention center clients, 29 equestrian clients and has planned more than 30 major worldwide events.
Our portfolio includes such icons as Yankee Stadium in New York; the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games main stadium; Nanjing Sports Park in China; ANZ Stadium in Australia; Phoenix Convention Center in Arizona; the new University of Minnesota football stadium and event planning for the Super Bowl and Major League Baseball All Star Game. We have received nearly 200 design awards for our work, including three national American Institute of Architect awards and countless global design awards. In addition, in 2009 and in 2010, Populous was named one of Fast Company magazine's most innovative companies in sports and was also named the American Institute of Architects - Kansas City Chapter Firm of the Year. As Populous, we enthusiastically embrace the expertise we uniquely claim -- drawing people together around teams, athletes, events, places, commerce, industry and ideas they wholeheartedly embrace and adore.