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Northwestern Shares Plans for New $800 Million Football Stadium

Northwestern has released its initial schematic design for its new stadium set to replace Ryan Field. 

The new Ryan Field, which is estimated to cost $800 million per the Chicago Sun-Times, will be entirely privately funded and is meant to “create a best-in-the-nation football experience for fans, student-athletes and the community.”

“We are extremely excited to move forward with a transformational stadium project and grateful to our University leadership and to the Board of Trustees for their decision to take the next steps toward a new Ryan Field,” Dr. Derrick Gragg, Combe Family Vice President for Athletics and Recreation, said in the school’s release. “We are all grateful to the Ryan Family for their unwavering commitment to Northwestern University and our academic and athletics programs. I have no doubt that the privately funded stadium will be a gamechanger for our football program, athletics department and the community, and will be in line with our other excellent facilities including Welsh-Ryan Arena and Ryan Fieldhouse.”

The Ryan family gifted the school $480 million to jumpstart the project. The stadium will reduce capacity by more than 12,000 to create a more intimate setting, only being able to house 35,000. All the seats in the stands will now have chair backs, and they will also be upgrading concessions with food from local restaurants and updating scoreboards and technology within the stadium. The stadium will be surrounded by plazas, a park and have other public greenspaces for fans during gamedays and other events. 

Per The Daily Northwestern, the project will be completed in 2026. It is unclear where the Wildcats football program will play during the new stadium’s construction, as the existing stadium is set to be demolished after the 2023 season, according to the Sun-Times.

The Wildcats are 1–3 on the season, winning their first game of the season against Nebraska. They will play Penn State in University Park on Saturday. 

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