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Henry Crown Sports Pavilion Renovations Complete

Additional 30,000 square feet, new studio spaces and exercise equipment added

  • $300,000 of new, top-of-the-line cardio and strength training equipment
  • Facility now meets or surpasses benchmarks set by top health clubs and universities
  • Pilates, yoga, cardio and indoor cycling offered more frequently, in stylish new studio spaces


EVANSTON, Ill. --- New, top-of-the-line fitness equipment and two exercise studios are part of a 30,000-square-foot expansion at the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion on the Northwestern University Evanston campus.

The expansion and renovation as well as opening of the new Northwestern Sailing Center were celebrated at events Nov. 6.

This addition to the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion is the first major change to the building since the Combe Tennis Center opened in 2002, and it coincides with the completion of the North Campus Parking Garage.

“This is a wonderful project,” said Northwestern President Morton Schapiro in a dedication ceremony at the facility that was attended by dozens of Northwestern officials, trustees, donors, senior staff, students and guests.

“The life blood of the University is the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion,” the president added. He paid tribute to Lester and Renee Crown, who were on hand for a ribbon cutting with the president and Jim Phillips, vice president for athletics and recreation. Lester Crown is a Life Trustee and the son of Henry Crown. Members of the Crown family have been leaders and supporters of Northwestern for decades.

“This facility offers world-class fitness and recreation experiences under one roof and gives our students and the Northwestern community the opportunity to keep healthy and active,” President Schapiro said.

About $300,000 was spent on new machines and equipment, including treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical machines as well as free weights and strength-training machines. Two new massage therapy suites, a wellness area for fitness evaluations and an annex of new office space also are part of the renovation.

The existing locker rooms have been revamped, two private, gender-neutral showers and changing rooms have been installed, and existing spaces throughout the facility have have been refreshed, too.

“We researched what other universities and health clubs offered, and we now meet or exceed the benchmark set by the top fitness centers,” said Dan Bulfin, director of recreation at Northwestern.

“The opening of the two group exercise studios has already made a difference in our programming,” Bulfin said. “We now offer three different group exercise classes simultaneously, during peak exercise times. Before, we could only offer one class at a time, and it was held in a gymnasium.”

Membership to the Henry Crown Sports Pavilion and Norris Aquatics Center is free for students and offered at a discounted rate for faculty, staff and their family members. Alumni and members of the Evanston community also can become members.

The facility is situated on the Evanston campus shores of Lake Michigan. The 95,000-square-foot facility serves approximately 1,400 participants each day. Participants take part in a myriad of activities such as swimming, basketball, squash, racquetball, tennis, group fitness, indoor cycling, weightlifting and other general cardiovascular and exercise activities.

The new Northwestern University Sailing Center opened this summer on the Evanston campus. Just feet from Lake Michigan’s shore on the south side of campus, the $2.5 million project replaces a small wooden building that served as the University’s boathouse since the 1970s.

At an earlier ceremony, President Schapiro, Phillips, athletics officials, dignitaries and students gathered for a dedication of the new Sailing Center.

“What a blessing it is for this University to be on the lake,” said the president. “With this facility, the new Music and Communication Building and the Visitors Center, we are now doing a better job of incorporating Lake Michigan into our campus.

“It’s always been a dream for me that we would get a sailing center befitting the quality of the people who use it.”