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Summer brings wave of facility enhancements on Evanston campus

Scheduled projects affect academic mission, student experience, athletics and more
evanston campus construction
Ongoing and scheduled projects align with Northwestern’s strategic priorities in academics and the student experience, as well as athletics facilities and essential campus infrastructure.

Several construction projects begin next month on Northwestern’s Evanston campus, aiming to enhance the campus experience.

Ongoing and scheduled projects align with the University’s strategic priorities in academics and the student experience, as well as athletics facilities and essential campus infrastructure.

> Related map: Download the Facilities PDF with key Evanston campus construction updates

Northwestern commits to accessibility and sustainability in all facility enhancements, and crews will make every effort to minimize disruptions to the campus and Evanston communities during construction.

Here is more information about each of the projects.

Jacobs Center renovation will create collaborative space to address societal issues

A three-year renovation of the Donald P. Jacobs Center at 2001 Sheridan Road will transform the building into a hub for social sciences and global studies. The renovated building will include classrooms, meeting and seminar rooms, labs, offices, dining areas and gathering spaces for students and faculty.

Renovations began in April 2024, with expected completion by fall 2026. Adjacent sidewalks will be closed intermittently in 2025. Detour signage will be posted for pedestrian foot traffic.

Learn more about the Donald P. Jacobs Center renovations.

Redevelopment of the Cohen Lawn will create new space to relax and socialize

Redevelopment of the Cohen Lawn —  an open area adjacent to Norris University Center formerly known as the East Lawn — will transform the space into a welcoming outdoor destination with stunning views of nearby Lake Michigan. A pub will be the centerpiece of the new space, along with a rooftop patio, covered performance pavilion and fire pits.

Construction is scheduled to begin in June and conclude in Fall Quarter 2025. During this time, the Cohen Lawn and adjacent paths along the cooling pond edge will be inaccessible to pedestrians. Detour signage will be posted.

Learn more about the Cohen Lawn redevelopment.

Deering Library renovations will enhance the facility while preserving its history

Deering Library will undergo renovations to improve accessibility, upgrade technology, increase collaboration opportunities and restore and preserve its historic features. The upgrades will enhance building infrastructure and prominent public spaces, including the Eloise W. Martin Reading Room, the third-floor lobby and room 208, a reading room and event space.

Renovations will begin in June and are expected to last through September 2025. Deering Library will be inaccessible during this time. Library staff will be available upon request to retrieve materials from Deering Library’s collections.

Learn more about the Deering Library renovations.

Ryan Field undergoes historic redevelopment

Northwestern is replacing its 97-year-old football stadium, creating a facility that is smaller, more environmentally friendly and accessible as a community venue throughout the year. The new, entirely privately funded stadium will be a catalyst for local economic growth, bringing new jobs, boosting local businesses and creating a vibrant cultural hub in Evanston.

Demolition of the existing structure began in February. Construction of the new facility is expected to be completed by the start of the 2026 football season.

Learn more about plans to redevelop Ryan Field.

Temporary field on the Evanston lakefront will host football, soccer, lacrosse games

The existing Lanny and Sharon Martin athletics facility near Lake Michigan on the Evanston campus will undergo temporary enhancements in order to host Northwestern football games for the 2024 and 2025 seasons, while Ryan Field is rebuilt. The facility will continue to host Northwestern’s soccer and lacrosse teams.

Construction of the temporary facility will begin in early June, with completion scheduled before the first home football game against Miami University on Aug. 31. The small parking lot east of the Walter Athletics Center will be closed to traffic during construction.

Learn more about plans for the temporary facility on the lake.

Shoreline improvements planned in response to record-high lake levels

In response to record-high lake levels in 2020, Northwestern is scheduling improvements along the campus shoreline from the cooling pond’s southern edge near the footbridge to the sailing beach. Work will include replacing the existing pedestrian bridge, improving stormwater infrastructure and extending the lakefront jetty further south to protect the sailing beach during future high lake levels.

Lake Michigan experiences seasonal and cyclical changes in water levels. This summer’s planned work schedule takes advantage of lower lake levels during the summer months.  

Construction is scheduled to begin in late June and extend through October 2024. The University will post signage to reroute pedestrian traffic along the lakefront path and bridge for periodic closures during construction.

Central Utility Plant to undergo equipment upgrades

New equipment in the Central Utility Plant will ensure the reliability of campus heating and cooling operations.

A short portion of Campus Drive will be closed to vehicular traffic between Northwestern Place and the University Library from May 20 to July 12. Pedestrian walkways will remain open, and the work will not cause any disruption to utility services.

Learn more about the Central Utility Plant upgrades.

Stay informed

Keep up to date on developments regarding all campus construction projects by visiting the Facilities website.