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NU unveils plans for new Ryan Field

Northwestern University late Wednesday released renderings of a schematic design for the new stadium to replace the 97-year-old Ryan Field

In a news release the school said the new stadium would be funded entirely with private dollars and would create a world-class home for Northwestern University Athletics.

The existing stadium as seen from the corner of Central and Ashland. (Google Maps image)

The new design calls for a maximum capacity of 35,000 fans, 12,000 fewer than the current stadium.

It would also have a state-of-the-art canopy “designed to focus noise and light on the field.”

A rendering of the planned new stadium, showing the canopy over the field.

NU says the new stadium is being designed to achieve LEED Gold certification and will apply universal design standards, becoming one of he most accessible stadiums in the country.

The school says that based on meetings with neighbors, the stadium plans include a variety of efforts — beyond the reduction in capacity — to reduce vehicular traffic when the stadium is in use.

Those projects may include a complimentary bike valet program, to promote safe cycling while improving traffic flow and provide safe bike storage during game days, and initiating conversations with Metra, CTA and ride-sharing services to explore more efficient scheduling and availability,

The school says it is also planning an underground loading and service dock, away from the sight lines of nearby residents and businesses.

In a decision that is certain to raise concerns among neighbors, the school says that to ensure the financial viability of the new facility, it is considering hosting a limited number of concerts each year.

But officials say they plan “to work closely with the City of Evanston, residents and community partners in determining the optimal number of concerts per year.”

The school claims concerts could generate over $35 million in new tax revenue for the city in the first decade of the new stadium’s operation..

The university plans to hold a series of community listening and learning sessions before formally beginning the process of seeking approval of the project from the city.

More information about the project is available online.

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