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Doors Open to New Visitors Center

Prospective students start tours from new campus location overlooking Lake Michigan


EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University has opened its new state-of-the-art Visitors Center for prospective students and their families.

Situated on the southeast corner of the Evanston campus at 1841 Sheridan Road, the building features broad views of Lake Michigan and the University's new Sailing Center.

The 170,000-square-foot facility, designed by Chicago architectural firm Perkins+Will, includes an auditorium with approximately 160 seats, meeting rooms, offices for admission staff and waiting areas for visitors.

“The Visitors Center provides a beautiful new front door for Northwestern and enables us to start tours on the main part of campus, rather than having to cross Sheridan Road with large groups of people,” said Michael Mills, associate provost for enrollment management. “And with Lake Michigan as its backdrop, the building gives our visitors a wonderful first impression of Northwestern and Evanston.\"

The new building is home to the Office of Undergraduate Admission and the Parking Services Office.

In order to provide adequate parking for visitors and comply with City of Evanston zoning requirements, the Visitors Center includes an indoor parking structure for more than 400 cars. The south and west facades of the garage are enclosed in glass and stone to help obscure the visibility of the cars in the garage and to continue the facade of the Visitors Center portion of the structure.

By combining the Visitors Center and parking garage on the main part of its campus, Northwestern will enable admission visitors to park in the same building where information sessions are held and campus tours begin.

More than 47,000 people – prospective students and their families – visit the Northwestern admission office each year.

The Visitors Center and Sailing Center, along with the new Music and Communication Building (scheduled to open in 2015), are part of the University’s southeast campus development plan. The trio of new facilities will transform the southeast area of the Evanston campus. The eastern third of an existing two-story parking garage located just north of the Sailing Center has been demolished and will be replaced with a pedestrian-friendly green space that slopes down to Lake Michigan from the adjacent arts buildings in that area.

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