EVANSTON – When they received a gift from Pat and Shirley Ryan back in 2021, it was thought that it would be used to help upgrade the team’s football stadium that’s nearly 100 years old.

But now it appears Northwestern is eyeing a completely different strategy when it comes to Ryan Field.

(Northwestern University)

This week, the university released their initial concepts for a new stadium that would completely replace the 97-year old facility that has been the home to Northwestern football.

The project, which Crain’s Chicago Business reports will cost around $800 million, will be fully privately funded and require no taxpayer money. Since these are still early designs, there still hasn’t been a timeline said for a start to construction or completion.

(Northwestern University)

The new stadium would feature a reduction in capacity to 35,000, which is 12,000 less than the current stadium, but would feature a state-of-the-art facility. Included in it would be seat-back chairs for all fans, an innovative student section, updated concession stands, and cutting-edge technology, which includes the scoreboards.

Along with hosting Northwestern football games, the venue may also host some concerts as well.

(Northwestern University)

There are also plans for a canopy that would help to reduce noise and light impact on the surrounding neighborhood in Evanston. Developers also say they’ll set a new standard for accessibility and inclusion with the design of the new Ryan Field.

(Northwestern University)

Along with the stadium itself, there will be plazas and a community park that will surround the facility that will be available year-round.

“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,” said Northwestern athletic director Dr. Derrick Gragg in a statement released by the school. “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 game-changer 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.”

You can learn more about the project by clicking here.