SBJ/April 22-28, 2013/Facilities

Northwestern’s plan for indoor facility includes more than football

Don Muret
The new indoor practice facility for Northwestern’s football team will be cast as a multipurpose space, a departure from similar structures in college sports, an architect involved with the development says.

360 Architecture, the firm that designed recent upgrades to SEC stadiums at Missouri and Mississippi State, is part of the team selected to plan the Lakeside Athletic Complex, a $220 million project on the Northwestern campus along the shore of Lake Michigan.

The centerpiece is a 106,000-square-foot building to serve the needs of the Big Ten school’s football program in addition to providing an early-season venue for lacrosse games and a home for Northwestern’s intramural programs, 360 principal Nate Appleman said.

Most BCS schools have indoor practice facilities built exclusively for football programs. Northwestern, though, is a “different animal” compared with its Big Ten counterparts, Appleman said: It’s the only private school in a conference of large public institutions and has only about 8,500 full-time undergraduate students on its campus in Evanston, a Chicago suburb where real estate is at a premium.

As a result, 360 Architecture and lead architect Perkins + Will are charged with designing a facility with the flexibility to benefit the entire student body, he said. The building will have seating for 2,500 people to accommodate lacrosse games.

“Student Affairs has its eyes on using it for 25 different things,” Appleman said. “Football will have to schedule it just like everybody else.”

Northwestern officials declined to comment. The project is working its way through the approval process with city officials in Evanston, sources said.

The Wildcats football team practices indoors at Trienens Hall, a building with an 80-yard field and tight clearances, Appleman said.

The Lakeside complex also covers improvements to the aquatics center, upgrades to the outdoor soccer and lacrosse fields, training and support facilities for seven athletic programs and new offices for Northwestern’s athletic administrators.

There is no timetable for when the entire project will be completed, Appleman said.

> REYNOLDS WRAP: Separately, 360 Architecture won the job to design a $40 million renovation of Reynolds Coliseum, North Carolina State’s 64-year-old arena on campus.

The 8,560-seat arena, home to Wolfpack women’s basketball, will undergo a retrofit to include new restrooms, upgraded concession stands, a new office tower at the north end, a walk of fame and a multipurpose hospitality space for 200 people.

The plan includes air conditioning, a first for the arena.

The facility’s most recent upgrades were in 2010, when the scoreboard was renovated. In 2005, a new hardwood maple playing surface was installed.

N.C. State’s men’s basketball team played home games at Reynolds Coliseum until moving to PNC Arena for the 1999-2000 season. Since that season, the Wolfpack men have committed to playing at least one game a year at the older arena and are 14-0 in those appearances.

Reynolds Coliseum is also home to the school’s wrestling and women’s volleyball and gymnastics teams.

John Eyler is 360’s principal in charge of the renovation.

> COMMON GROUND: The University of Kentucky, pending a signed contract, has selected HNTB to design a $125 million renovation of Commonwealth Stadium.

The project calls for adding 10 to 15 suites, 2,000 to 2,500 club seats, a team store, a new press box and a full-service kitchen, according to local reports.

DeWayne Peevy, Kentucky’s executive associate athletic director for external operations, said the school could not comment publicly until a deal is signed with an architect. HNTB designed a $24 million expansion to the stadium in the late 1990s.

Gerardo Prado, an HNTB associate vice president, said he would have a role in the new updates. He was involved in designing the previous improvements as one of his first projects at the firm.

Don Muret can be reached at dmuret@sportsbusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @breakground.
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