Northwestern's Welsh-Ryan Arena set for transformation

Construction is expected to commence following the March 2017 basketball season.
Construction is expected to commence following the March 2017 basketball season. | File photo

Termed by Northwestern University’s Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips as “a historic moment for the future of Northwestern Athletics,” Welsh-Ryan Arena’s complete renovation project recently scored substantial funding.

Patrick and Shirley Ryan, Stephen and Susan Wilson, and additional benefactors will supplement the current budget to achieve the $110-plus million refurbishing budget for the university’s home to basketball, volleyball and wrestling.

“The inspiring leadership of the Ryans has benefited Northwestern in so many ways over the years, and we are extremely grateful for this latest gift,” University President Morton Schapiro said.

Improvements will include new seating, office space and locker rooms, wider aisles, new fan amenities, and upgraded lighting. Phillips described all the donors as valuable visionaries whose contributions will last for generations. 

“The new Welsh-Ryan Arena will be a dramatic transformation for our varsity sports programs that call it home and for the fans who devotedly support our student-athletes,” he said. “A central tenet of our commitment to providing a world-class experience for our Wildcats is a passionate home crowd. This complete overhaul … will create a state-of-the-art experience accessible to all Chicagoland sports fans while they support our student-athletes in competition.”

Construction is expected to commence following the March 2017 basketball season with a target completion date of fall 2018. The athletic department is arranging alternative playing venues for practice and games. 

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