Ground-breaking marks start of construction for Ryan Field stadium

Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois has celebrated the formal ground-breaking for the college’s new Ryan Field football stadium.

The ceremony took place at the site of the new stadium and included remarks by University officials and Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss.

The speakers were joined in the ground-breaking by members of the Ryan Family, whose vision, leadership and generosity are the catalyst behind the new stadium.

The development is a 100% privately funded project set to bring thousands of jobs and nearly $660 million in economic impact to the City of Evanston and surrounding areas.

Northwestern University last year selected a partnership between Turner Construction and Walsh Construction (Turner-Walsh) as its construction manager for the redevelopment of Ryan Field.

When complete, the new stadium will create a best-in-the-nation football experience for fans, student-athletes and the community.

Proposed design highlights include:

  • A more intimate setting: Significantly smaller crowds — designed for a maximum capacity of 35,000, more than 12,000 fewer than the current Ryan Field, with a state-of-the-art canopy designed to focus noise and light on the field
  • New community assets: The new Ryan Field is being developed as a modern stadium campus with beautiful plazas, an exceptional new community park as well as other publicly accessible greenspaces for residents to enjoy year-round community activities
  • Accessibility: The new stadium will apply Universal Design standards and will set a new standard for accessibility and inclusivity, making it among the most accessible stadiums in the country
  • Sustainability: The project is designed to achieve Gold LEED certification.

The stadium project has targeted 35% of its total subcontracted spending to be local, minority-owned and woman-owned businesses, with priority given to businesses and individuals located in Evanston.

Northwestern President Michael Schill said:

The new Ryan Field is important to our Wildcats, yes, but it is much more than a football stadium. This state-of-the-art facility also will serve as a vibrant venue for the Evanston community, hosting community-oriented events such as winter festivals, family movie nights and youth sports events.

None of this would be possible without some very generous individuals. From athletics to research, the Ryan Family has supported Northwestern in ways that will resonate with our community for generations to come.

Pat Ryan Sr., founder of Aon Corporation and founder and CEO of Ryan Specialty Group added:

The Ryan Family is proud to enable this generational, transformational project that will catapult Northwestern to the forefront of athletics facilities while creating a powerful year-round asset for the Northwestern and Evanston communities.

So many of the Ryans have called Evanston home for important chapters of our lives, and we look forward to delivering on the promises we have made through this investment, including new jobs for residents, investments in community programs and services, increased tourism opportunities and unprecedented economic impact for the community at large.

Images, courtesy: Northwestern University

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