Northwestern announced a new fundraising campaign on Friday to raise money and support for the school's athletics department. The school listed several initiatives of the campaign in its official release, but the project that is catching headlines is the proposed lakefront athletics facility.
The football program will benefit from the new digs, along with the soccer and lacrosse teams and the school's nutrition program. As the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein pointed out, an impressive lakefront facility will also help with Pat Fitzgerald's recruiting efforts.
The Chicago Tribune reported that construction of the two-building complex will begin "by early 2015 and should take about two years to complete."
NU officials have been tight-lipped since unveiling plans for the project in September 2012. The price tag for the facility on the shore of Lake Michigan is likely to exceed the original estimate of $220 million.
The delay in announcing a timetable resulted from the school's effort to gain input from coaches, athletic administrators and student-welfare officials.
Once the facility opens, Fitzgerald will seek to wow recruits with Chicago skyline views, and the football team will eat, study film and practice — on either an indoor or outdoor field — on the north end of campus.
The school has provided several mockups of the facility. Wildcats offensive line coach Adam Cushing has even picked out an office.