Northwestern answered the bell in the facility arms race…225 million times.

The university announced that it will break ground on a new Lakefront Athletics and Recreation Complex on Friday, Nov. 13. The facility will cost the university a reported $225 million, according to the Chicago Tribune’s Teddy Greenstein. The “We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern,” provided the funding.

A $23 million gift from University trustees Kimberly K. Querrey and Louis A. Simpson as part of “We Will. The Campaign for Northwestern,” pushed the project into action.

Wildcat football coach Pat Fitzgerald was pleased about the announcement, to say the least.

Northwestern, which is considered to have the worst facilities among Power-Five teams, will get a bevy of upgrades.

The new Ryan Fieldhouse will provide a large, indoor multipurpose facility for football practice as well as Olympic sports team practices and competitions, recreational activities and non-sporting events.

It will include the following:

  • Wilson Field, a full-sized indoor athletic field that will enable Northwestern’s student-athletes to practice and/or compete indoors during inclement weather
  • Strength and conditioning space for Olympic sports teams
  • Seating to accommodate campus events such as University convocations, Dance Marathon and other community functions
  • Sports medicine facilities
  • Locker rooms for multiple Wildcats varsity programs

A $40 million gift from Mark and Kimbra Walter funded the Walter Athletics Center, a state-of-the-art facility that will house academic support services for more than 500 student-athletes, a nutrition center and dining facility, a sports performance center, and office space for coaches and administrators.

It will include the following:

  • Headquarters for Northwestern football, including coaches’ offices, meeting rooms and locker rooms
  • Offices for coaches of numerous varsity teams
  • A nutrition center and dining facility
  • Academic and professional development support offices

Northwestern was the third B1G team in the last month to announce a major facilities upgrade. Minnesota and Purdue are both receiving significant upgrades that will both lift them to the middle of the pack in the B1G.

As Fitzgerald said, this is a game-changer for Northwestern.