CHICAGO (CBS) — Northwestern University has released early designs for a new stadium to replace the 97-year-old Ryan Field, which hosts the school’s football games.
The release of the renderings comes a year after the Evanston-based university announced private funding from the Ryan family to build the new facility, according to a news release.
Northwestern said the redesigned Ryan Field will feature a “more intimate setting” with much smaller crowds and a maximum capacity of 35,000, about 12,000 less than the existing stadium.
The new designs also include a new community park and publicly accessible green spaces for residents to enjoy year-round community activities.
The school also touted that the project is designed to achieve Gold LEED certification, which recognizes buildings with efficient and sustainable designs.
“I have no doubt that the privately funded stadium will be a game changer for our football program, our athletics department and the community, and will be in line with our other excellent facilities including Welsh-Ryan Arena and Ryan Fieldhouse,” said Derrick Gragg, Northwestern. athletic director in a statement.
The Ryan family’s $480 million donation to the university was the largest in its history and included funding not only for the new stadium, but also for university research.
“I am excited about this project, which will create a new, world-class stadium that suits our world-class institution, our incredible student-athletes, our fans, our alumni and the Evanston community,” said Northwestern Chairman Michael Schill in a statement.
The university added that it took into account the concerns of nearby residents when designing the new stadium. Some measures being considered to reduce traffic include a free bike valet program and discussions with Metra, the Chicago Transit Authority and ride-sharing services to explore more efficient scheduling and availability on game days.
Northwestern cited studies that show construction of the project would generate more than $10 million in costs and $600 million in indirect economic development for the town of Evanston. Construction will also create more than 2,900 new jobs.
Evanston residents can learn more about the project at Rebuildryanfield.com.