Northwestern University
new ryan field

Northwestern University unveils $800 million plan for new football stadium

Sept. 29, 2022
A 35,000-capacity stadium would be built to replace the existing Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.

Northwestern University has unveiled an $800 million plan to demolish Ryan Field, its football venue in Evanston, Ill., and replace it with a modern stadium that reduces its capacity and sets it up to host concerts and other non-football events.

Crain's Chicago Business reports that the project renderings show a 35,000-seat stadium with a canopy structure over three seating decks and a field running northwest to southeast. All of those features would be significant changes from the existing 96-year-old stadium, which has a capacity of about 47,000 and a field that runs north-south.

The university is aiming to begin demolition next year and open the new facility in time for the 2026 football season. The proposed stadium is still subject to community review and approval from the city of Evanston.

The project was spurred by a $480 million gift last year from stadium namesakes Patrick and Shirley Ryan.

Seating capacity at the new stadium would be reduced in part because the stadium would include individual seats with chair backs as opposed to the bench seating in much of the existing stadium.

HTNB is the lead architect, and Perkins & Will is an associate design architect.

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