Similiar to in-state rival Illinois, the Evanston based arena will undergo some key changes to bring the school to 21st century standards
We have seen the arrival of the big video boards, ala what you see at Wrigley Field. According to an article published in the Chicago Tribune on June 14, Teddy Greenstein mentioned that for the first time since 1984 a “complete facility renovation” will take place. This was due in large part to a whopping $110 million donation from the Ryan family, spearheaded by Pat and Shirley, longstanding Northwestern alums.
About 650 seats (taking the overall capacity from the current 8,117 to around 7,500) will be replaced as the old wooden bleachers will be replaced by more comfortable chairback seats. And just like what the State Farm Center has in downstate Champaign, along with wider concourses and the introduction of suites. There will also be a key student cheering section behind both baskets, similar to what we have seen at venerable Hinkle Fieldhouse with Butler over the years.
Renovation to force Wildcats to play elsewhere in Chicagoland area during the 2017-2018 season
Northwestern will more than likely share playing space with DePaul’s home over the last 36 years at Allstate Arena in Rosemont–since the Blue Demons will be moving to a brand new arena just a few hundred yards south of Soldier Field inside McCormick Place off Lake Shore Drive in Chicago.
The article also mentioned the Gentile Center on Loyola’s campus for a few possible dates and of course, the United Center on Chicago’s West Side–whenever Illinois, UIC, the NBA’s Bulls and the three time recent Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks permeate most of the fall and winter months.
An expanded lobby and improved lighting will make things very nice instead of boring and decrepit, along with more up-to-date elevators for fans and wider coaches offices and practice facilities should make this renovation a ‘win-win’ for all involved.
But as we learned this past season from Illinois, be careful what you wish for.