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Northwestern announces new, $110-million renovation for Welsh-Ryan Arena

The renovation will be completed by fall 2018.

Welsh-Ryan Arena will look a whole lot different quite soon. By fall 2018, a $110-million renovation on the arena will be completed, and construction will begin after the 2016-17 basketball season, leaving question marks as to where Northwestern will play during the 2017-18 season. According to Northwestern's news release, the renovation will include:
  • New seating throughout the arena, with chair-back seats replacing existing wood bleachers
  • Wider, more accessible concourses with improved lighting to alleviate congestion
  • Improved accessibility for the mobility-impaired, with five new elevators replacing the existing one
  • New restrooms, doubling the number of toilet fixtures as well as the addition of accessible family restrooms
  • New concession areas with twice as many point-of-sale stations to increase efficiency, along with new food and drink offerings
  • State-of-the-art lighting, audio and video capabilities in the arena
  • Premium seating areas and expansion of the N-Club, which provides space for pre- and post-game events, by more than 400 percent. The club, which is located on the second floor, will be extended south onto Randy Walker Terrace at Ryan Field and provide expanded hospitality opportunities on football gamedays.
  • Expansion of the building lobby by nearly 50 percent
  • A new ticket office
  • New locker rooms for men's basketball, women's basketball and volleyball
  • New offices for men's and women's basketball
  • Expansion of usable court space in both the main arena and fieldhouse.

The renovation will be funded by a gift from Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan, plus a gift of $10 million from Stephen R. and Susan K. Wilson.

Welsh-Ryan Arena was built in 1952. In 2014, the basketball court at Welsh-Ryan was redone and a new Jumbotron was installed. While exact figures on what the new seating capacity will be after the renovations are complete, it's likely that Welsh-Ryan and Rutgers' Louis Brown Athletic Center will remain the Big Ten's only basketball arenas with under 10,000 seats.