Jim Phillips spoke to the media Saturday, just a day after Northwestern announced that it would begin construction on its new lakefront athletic facility next Friday, Nov. 13. Phillips, reading from a prepared statement, called this day "historic and transformational" for Northwestern, and then took questions.
Here are the most important notes and quotes:
- Phillips said the estimated timetable for the entire project is two years. "That's what we hope and expect," he said.
- Phillips: "This was driven initially by the sport of football... but [it will] have an absolute residual [impact]."
- The cost is $260 million dollars, which Phillips admitted is "staggering." That is slightly higher than the original estimate of $220 million, but Phillips said the increase in estimated cost is due to some additions to the original plan. "Initially, when we thought it was going to be 220, I don't think we had exactly the right program," Phillips said.
- Phillips said there is a plan to repurpose the facilities left behind by the football program near Ryan Field — Nicolet Football Center, the outdoor practice field — but wouldn't say what those plans are.
- Phillips said Dance Marathon will "absolutely" be at Ryan Fieldhouse.
- Phillips on the final hurdles for the project over the past year: "A project of this magnitude is going to take some time... Making sure we had the right project for the right user group. And times change... what's the best way to care for the student athletes. And to continue to work with all the agencies involved with the permitting process."
- Throughout the press conference, Phillips emphasized the connection this on-campus athletic facility will have with the general student body.