Fundraising for Northwestern athletic center speeds up

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January 04, 2013|By Erin Vogel @eringejuice | For RedEye

Northwestern University has already raised $55 million, more than a quarter of its $220 million goal, to build a brand new athletic complex on the north end of its main Evanston campus.

University President Morton Schapiro and Vice President for Athletics and Recreation Jim Phillips made the fundraising announcement Sunday, two days before Northwestern's football team beat Mississippi in the Gator Bowl on New Year's Day. The win was the university's first bowl victory in 64 years.

According to The Daily Northwestern, the complex will include new practice and competition venues for varsity, club and intramural sports, along with spaces for non-athletic events and a brand-new 1,200-car parking garage. The new space, first announced in September, will be named the Ryan Fieldhouse after the project's lead donor, Northwestern alum Patrick Ryan. 

University spokesman Al Cubbage said fundraising for the new complex has gone much more rapidly than anticipated, and the Wildcats' recent bowl win is expected to be an additional boost to future fundraising. The school expects to receive another large donation for the facility "very soon," Cubbage said.

"Overall, the new complex will undoubtedly be a real benefit to everyone on campus, not just our athletes," Cubbage said. "But it will unquestionably also be, as football coach Pat Fitzgerald called it, a real game-changer for our athletic program."

Erin Vogel is a RedEye special contributor.

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