NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS FACILITIES MASTER PLAN

NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS FACILITIES MASTER PLAN INTRODUCTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS NIU Master Plan Thesis Group NIU Coaches & Operation...
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NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY

ATHLETICS FACILITIES MASTER PLAN

INTRODUCTION ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

NIU Master Plan Thesis Group

NIU Coaches & Operations Staff

A number of people participated in the initial information-gathering process in order to provide a variety of perspectives and informed opinions. AECOM would like to thank the participants for their time, thoughts, and inspiration.



Ron Walters





Jim Hied

Eric Luzzi Eric Schultz



Clay Shipley



Mike DeFauw

Jason John

Northern Ilinois University Athletics



Michael Cannon



Phil Voorhis

Julie Ream



Ryun Ferrell

Susan Hansfield

NIU Facilities & Planning



Edward Mathey

Chad McNett



Pat Bell



Evan Klepec

Ramsin Wardanian



Tom Wroblewski

John Ross Eric Hicks



John Moluf



Patrick Fisher

Donna Turner



Ryan Ludwig

Agina Nelson



Sean T. Frazier



John Cheney



Mark Muhlhauser



Ryan Sedevie



Debra Boughton



Matt Gonzalez



Christian Spears



Tracy Wescott

Doug Baker



Bill Nicklas



Melanie Tucker



Donald Rodman

NIU Foundation

Rod Carey Sam Morreale



Mike Malone



Matt Lipman



Joe Matty



Mike Valentine

Northern Illinois University Administration

Christina Sutcliffe

NIU Donors, Alumni, Student Government

AECOM

Glenn Roby



Gary & Gloria Baumgartner

Jeff Rich David Stone

Bob & Alina Brigham



Steve Kelly

Ron & Nancy Proesel



Jon Niemuth

Dave and Lyn Rasmussen



Mike Handelman

Brandon Liebst

Michelle Kiehl

Jack Barry

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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INTRODUCTION PROCESS OVERVIEW

ATHLETICS MASTER PLAN TIMELINE

• The NIU Athletics Master Plan provides a comprehensive vision for the future development of an athletic campus at NIU, based on a variety of near and long term facilities enhancements.

April 9, 2014

• The plan includes a review of existing conditions at multiple athletic facilities and the future needs for the athletic programs which utilize these facilities.

May 23, 2014

• This plan creates a unifying, deliberate pathway for NIU to develop new facilities and modify existing facilities to accommodate as their needs change. • NIU finds itself in a transformative stage as a University as a whole. The Athletics Master Plan is the vision of an athletic campus at NIU that fits within the overall future vision of the campus development as a whole. • A number of on campus sessions were conducted during this report involving representative from multiple campus entities. • Each facility and program was discussed separately and in detail. Specific use patterns, gameday and nongameday operational scenarios were all examined to determine where opportunities for improvement would be the most beneficial.

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

Kick-Off Meeting

April 23-25, 2014 Programming, Campus Plan Thesis Concept Review and Design Survey

June 17, 2014 Review Concept Designs and Survey Progress July 2, 2014

Review Survey Results, Proposed MP Sequencing & Cost Projections

July 15, 2014 Review Master Plan with Athletics and University President Aug. 14, 2014

Review Master Plan Progress and cost estimates with key stakeholders

Sept. 16, 2014 Master Plan final deliverables review and discussions Sept. 26, 2014

Review Master Plan with BOT Chair and Vice Chair

Oct. 30, 2014

Public Release of Athletic Facilities Master Plan & Ongoing Review

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ANALYSIS + ASSESSMENT NIU MASTER PLAN THESIS The Athletics Campus Master Plan was developed concurrently with the NIU Campus Master Plan Thesis in mind to create one cohesive vision for the development of the NIU campus. The following items were identified as important aspects of this vision. •

Recognize Community Garden extends into athletics precinct;



Use buildings and improvements to create and reinforce exterior space, such as the Community Garden and the NIU Student Quadrangle on East Side of Huskie Stadium;



Agreed that proposed Rec Center is optimal;



Recognize importance of bicycle connectivity East to West along Lucinda;



Shift proposed baseball slightly north to give more room for Lucinda with bike paths;



Continue discussion of intersections;



Consider extending roadway north off of Lincoln Highway to North Campus edge;



Thesis Plan will show Softball at existing location to remain in next plan drawings;.



Parking Demand includes commuter drop-off and change of some surface parking areas to residential;



Prefer no garages on east side of stadium, but consider one garage to be located due south of rec center;



Another garage due north across Lucinda for mixed use with Grad Student housing in front of garage;



Chick Evans will be used for Men’s and Women’s Tennis.

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

NIU Campus Master Plan

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ANALYSIS + ASSESSMENT EXISTING ATHLETICS CAMPUS + FACILITIES ASSESSMENTS • The athletics campus exists on the west side of the overall campus and is divided from the east side academic campus by Annie Glidden Road. • The Student Intramural Sports Complex is isolated from the main part of campus. • There is very little non-gameday use of the athletics campus by students because there is no draw for them. • The existing athletics campus lacks a sense of place and identity. • The existing athletics campus lacks a prominent approach or front door. •

The ability for NIU to reach its full potential within the NCAA and MAC is limited by several of their facilities amenities and physical layouts.

• At NIU the fan base is both local and regional. Facilities must be of the quality that allow them to compete with not only other Universities but also professional sports team in the area for fans. • Facilities must be Student / Patron friendly and be “engaging” • Should generate additional revenue • Should feature specific NIU design elements

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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EXISTING ATHLETICS FACILITIES MAP

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ATHLETICS CAMPUS VISION • The extension and development of Lucinda Avenue becomes a strong East/West campus connector that terminates at the new baseball stadium and Convocation Center. • A proposed Huskie Stadium East Side addition, an improved Mary M. Bell Field, and a proposed student rec center create a traditional campus quadrangle east of Huskie Stadium. • A new Athletics Campus Entrance at Stadium Drive East is developed off of Lincoln Highway. • Huskie Markers (graphic pylons or flagpoles or statues) are envisioned along Lucinda Avenue and Stadium Drive East to help define the Athletics Campus Precinct and create identity • New parking structures are envisioned at the new south Athletics Campus entry and as part of a new student housing building adjacent to Lucinda Avenue. These locations are tied into new planned trolley routes that carry students from these peripheral campus locations to the campus center. • Gameday parking for Huskie Stadium is maintained at the surface lot to the west of the stadium as well as the new quadrangle on the east side. Further parking demand is supplemented by the new parking structure off of Stadium Drive East. • The area near a planned south endzone expansion of Huskie Stadium becomes the student gameday zone.

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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PROPOSED ATHLETICS CAMPUS

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Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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HUSKIE STADIUM SEATING SURVEY

Approximately 121,000 survey invitations were sent (to NIU alumni). Approximately 4,200 responses were received, for a response rate of just under four percent. Questions asked include:

• Donor levels • Number of games attended/year • Interest in capital gifts • Interest in Private Suites • Interest in Indoor Club Seats • Interest in Outdoor Club Seats • Interest in Loge Boxes

Premium Seating interest:

• Tested at various prices

SURVEY RESULTS

Interest in the following premium areas (ranked from highest interest to lowest)

1. Outdoor Club Seats 2. Indoor Club Seats 3. Loge Boxes 4. Private Suites

• Interest in sharing suites/loges • Interest in purchasing club seats • Interest in various locations

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HUSKIE STADIUM EXISTING EAST SIDE OVERVIEW • Constructed in early 1990s. • Spectator restrooms are sized correctly for population and are in good working order. • More points of sale for concessions are needed. Currently must use a lot of portables to supplement permanent stands. • Existing ramps to provide access to elevated ADA seating positions are large and consume a large amount of space. • Storage for portable concessions, field equipment, etc. is inadequate and is currently located under the front of the stands behind a chain link fence, creating a disorganized and undesirable gameday appearance in the concourse area. • Existing tread depth of 26” is below modern-day facility design standard. • External perimeter gates of stadium are old and in poor condition, making security difficult. • Plumbing system is unprotected and is therefore drained and shut off for winter months.

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HUSKIE STADIUM EXISTING EAST SIDE

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Section Layout

Layout Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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HUSKIE STADIUM PROPOSED EAST SIDE LAYOUT FEATURES

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• Three times more concession facilities on East Side

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• Full catering kitchen and freight elevator to service all premium areas in stadium

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• Student/University engagement opportunity allowing for use on nongamedays throughout the year

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• Multiple elevators • Second floor capable of future build out for multiple University and Athletics usage New East Side Ground Level Layout

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• Adds permanent concession and easy accessibility to restroom facilities

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• Loading dock

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New East Side Mezzanine Level Layout Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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HUSKIE STADIUM PROPOSED EAST SIDE LAYOUT FEATURES

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• Club areas with views east and west to entire campus

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• Restrooms, bar service, and concessions exclusive to club, suite and loge ticket holders

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• Chairback seating with increased legroom built over existing stadium structure

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• Individual suites for up to 20 people

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• Restrooms for suite and indoor skybox ticket holders only New East Side Club Level Layout

• Catering pantry to service suite level • Most corridor areas open to view of club area below • Indoor skybox area

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New East Side Suite Level Layout Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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HUSKIE STADIUM PROPOSED EAST SIDE LAYOUT LOGE BOX SEATING

SUITE DOUBLE SUITE

OUTSIDE CLUB SEATING

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

CLUB LOUNGE

INDOOR CLUB SEATING

DOUBLE SUITE

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HUSKIE STADIUM NEW SOUTH ENDZONE SOUTH ENDZONE GROUND LEVEL FEATURES • Connects East and West sides of stadium 5

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• South Stadium Drive stays open

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• Add concessions and restrooms • Dedicated student area on field level and seating areas • Potential space for Team Store

New South Endzone Ground Level Layout

SOUTH ENDZONE SEATING FEATURES • Seating for a minimum of 6,500 • Elevates the scoreboard and videoboard • Encloses stadium to improve sound and East Side exposure to wind

New South Endzone Seating Layout Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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HUSKIE STADIUM EXISTING WEST SIDE OVERVIEW • Constructed in mid 1960s. • Existing tread depths vary between 24”-28” and are therefore below modern facility design standards. • Existing ramp systems, Olympic sports locker rooms, and wrestling and gymnastics gymnasiums consume a large amount of space under the seating structure, resulting in extremely undersized circulation space for spectators on gameday. • Due to lack of space, there is not sufficient pointof-sale space for spectator concessions. • Due to lack of space, and existing layout involving stairway access, available restroom space is inadequate and extremely congested on gamedays. • Existing perimeter walls and lack of circulation space create a claustrophobic feel on gameday. Feel is more of an enclosed arena than a traditional open air stadium. • Existing locker rooms are shared by multiple sports and are not secured due to required circulation paths through the facility on nongamedays.

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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HUSKIE STADIUM EXISTING WEST SIDE OVERVIEW • Single elevator access to coaches booths, press spaces, and indoor club seating create delays at pregame, halftime and postgame. • Lack of a stadium kitchen is problematic and causes delays in service. Food is currently prepared at Convocation Center or Holmes Student Center and brought over with golf carts. • There is a need for a command center to house operational and security staff and security camera observational display. • There is a need for gameday first aid room and security holding room to temporarily contain unruly fans. • General conditions in existing press booth are overcrowded and cramped for press and coaches. Close proximity also creates conflicts between internal and external PA broadcasts. • There is no organized space for TV truck parking and gameday broadcast cabling pathways. Current practice creates congestion and undesirable, unsecured space on the west side of the building. • Gameday parking is created on grass surface lots on both sides of stadium and is generally adequate.

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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HUSKIE STADIUM EXISTING WEST SIDE

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Existing West Side Section

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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HUSKIE STADIUM PROPOSED WEST SIDE LAYOUT PHASE 1 WEST SIDE GROUND LEVEL FEATURES

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• Requires new Olympic Sports Complex to be built to relocate gymnastics and wrestling practice areas • True stadium concourse and open circulation • Adds more permanent concession and easily accessible restroom options

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• Potential for field-level amenity area

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Phase 1 West Side Ground Level Layout

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3 PHASE 2 WEST SIDE GROUND LEVEL FEATURES • Removes eastern-most ramps. Center ramps still allow access to all seating levels

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3 • Adds permanent concession and easy accessibility to restroom facilities 4 • Concourse connection of all four West side corridors Phase 2 West Side Ground Level Layout Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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RALPH McKINZIE BASEBALL FIELD EXISTING FACILITY OVERVIEW: BASEBALL • Facility was constructed in 1965, bleachers added in 1993. • Players lockers are located at Huskie Stadium, and are shared with other sports. Locker room is therefore cramped and unsecure. • There is a need for a pregame space for players between pregame hitting practice and start of game. • Currently use meeting room adjacent to locker room in Huskie Stadium, but since multiple sports use it, there are often scheduling conflicts. • There are two types of equipment storage needs: baseball game equipment and field maintenance equipment. There is a need to improve storage for both types of equipment. • The field and the entire facility is oriented such that players are facing south and looking into the sun when standing at home plate. This is the complete opposite of the desired orientation. • There are no existing sports lights at the facility. • There are no permanent spectator restroom or concession facilities. • Spectator parking takes place at either Huskie Stadium or Convocation Center lots, neither of which are particularly convenient. Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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NEW BASEBALL STADIUM PROPOSED FACILITY FEATURES • Ralph McKinzie Field is oriented incorrectly relative to the sun and does not feature extensive permanent construction, making it the logical choice for relocation and reconstruction.

New Baseball Stadium Site Plan

• New location will be just south of the recently-constructed intramural sports complex and just northeast of the Convocation Center. A batter standing at home plate will face to the north/northeast looking at the pitcher’s mound. • New stadium features include bleacher seating for 1,500 (with 200-300 chairback seats), a press box, a home team clubhouse attached to the home dugout, visiting team locker room, storage rooms, and concession and restroom facilities for spectators. • An entry plaza behind home plate will echo a proposed exterior plaza on the north side of the Convocation Center. • Potential to construct in a phased approach, as some support areas can be placed in Convocation Center initially. • Partnerships for a summer league baseball team will be explored.

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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MARY M. BELL SOFTBALL FIELD EXISTING FACILITY OVERVIEW • Stadium constructed in 1991, playing field added in 1993. • Current location works well for student-athletes, who utilize adjacent Yordon Center for athletic training needs. • Existing facility has a very nice atmospheric feel due to the surface, the dugout construction, graphic wall and mature trees surrounding the outfield. • Players and spectators park on adjacent streets, mostly south of the stadium. • Current locker room in Huskie Stadium is cramped and unsecure. Therefore, players don’t store things in locker room or use showers. • Surface is high quality but is not well-maintained. • Outfield fence is not well-maintained, which results in gaps at bottom allowing balls to escape playing field. • Existing capacity is approximately 650. Desire is to get to 1,000 seats. • There are no permanent spectator amenities (restrooms or concessions). • Exterior edge of facility would benefit from some architectural closure to improve identity and aesthetic appearance. Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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MARY M. BELL SOFTBALL FIELD PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS • Becomes the north border to the new proposed campus quadrangle on the east side of Huskie Stadium. • New low-rise structures will house entry gates, spectator restrooms, concessions, and a small ticket sales room behind home plate. Locker rooms, a player lounge, training room, and equipment storage space will be located behind the first base side. • Ground surface between the new structures and the back of the metal bleachers paved to define a spectator concourse. • The current capacity of 650 seats enhanced with new metal bleachers and access stairs, bringing the total capacity to 1,000 seats. • A new perimeter fence will be installed around the entire field surface with a perimeter concrete curb at the base.

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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SOCCER + TRACK COMPLEX EXISTING FACILITY OVERVIEW • Facility was constructed in 2008. • Spectator parking at Convocation Center Lot to the west of the complex. This is inconvenient because bleachers are on the east side, so people have to walk around the field from the parking lot. • The players’ locker room was located at Huskie Stadium, but moved to Convocation Center in fall of 2014 as a temporary measure. • Meeting room in Huskie Stadium is used, but scheduling confilcts with other sports are frequent. • Playing surface is original and is beginning to show wear. • Press box facility is too small and inadequate. • There are no permanent restroom or concession facilities for spectators.

PROPOSED IMPROVEMENTS • Existing bleachers will be relocated to the west side of the stadium for closer proximity to the Convocation Center parking. • Permanent concessions stands and restroom facilities will be provided for spectators. • Team meeting rooms for use during games and track meets will be included. • A new press box will be fully air-conditioned and provide for broadcast and filming, with seating and counter space.

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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WEST TENNIS COURTS EXISTING FACILITY OVERVIEW • Courts were resurfaced in 2012 and are used by both men’s and women’s programs. • No indoor courts currently exist in DeKalb. Team travels approximately 30 miles outside the city for practice and competition indoors. • Perimeter fence and windscreens are in good condition and have a great appearance. • Location of courts is generally positive. They are central to the athletics campus and in close proximity to training facilities in the Yordon Center. • Surface of a couple of the courts has already cracked - freeze/thaw conditions might be the cause. • There are currently no good locations for bleacher seating. • There is minimal space between courts for umpire chairs and player benches. • There are currently no locker facilities, meeting room availibility or storage.

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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NEW TENNIS FACILITY PROPOSED FACILITY FEATURES New Tennis Facility Layout

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• A new facility will be constructed immediately to the west of the Chessick Practice Center as the home of the NIU men’s and women’s tennis programs. • The new facility will be a pre-manufactured large span steel structure housing (4) indoor playing courts, with a small low-rise, metal stud framed structure attached housing player facilities.

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• The adjacent building will include locker rooms and player lounges for each team, visiting team locker rooms, administration office, equipment storage, training room, a conference room and video room, and public restrooms. • Spectator seating for 200-500 spectators will be provided on portable metal bleachers adjacent to the outdoor courts.

• The potential for court rentals to community and non-intercollegiate athletics use will be explored.

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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WRESTLING/GYMNASTICS GYMS EXISTING OVERVIEW: WRESTLING • Current locker and practice gymnasium exists under the west side seating of Huskie Stadium. • Locker room is shared with other sports and is cramped and unsecure. • There is a large need for a lounge area to break down film, and additional mat space for cardio equipment. • Continuous problem with bulging under mat surface. • Separate climate control inside practice space is important. Current practice is to turn up heat to 75-80 degrees and regulate it closely. • Athletes definitely shower after practice. Shower and laundry facilities nearby are very important.

EXISTING OVERVIEW: GYMNASTICS • Practice in gyms in Huskie Stadium and compete in Convocation Center. Transfer of equipment is not problematic • Use of two separate gyms is problematic with one space preferred. Gyms are currently insufficient in length to practice vaults. • Team currently has its own locker facilities at Huskie Stadium. • Athletic training is located in Yordon Center - need covered pathway between it and locker room. Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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NEW OLYMPIC SPORTS FACILITY PROPOSED FACILITY AND FEATURES 2

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• A new facility to house multiple sports will be built immediately to the west of the Chessick Practice Center on the current site of Ralph McKinzie Field. • Includes a practice area for the Golf programs which do not currently have similar space on campus. • Will provide locker rooms and player lounges for men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf, women’s track & field and cross country, gymnastics and wrestling. The facility will also include locker rooms for our coaching staff, a sports medicine area, equipment, laundry and storage rooms and a lobby. • The wrestling and gymnastics practice gymnasiums currently located in Huskie Stadium will be moved to the new facility. The gymnastics gym space currently split into two separate rooms will be combined into one space.

Northern Illinois University Athletics Campus + Facilities Master Plan // 2014

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NIU CONVOCATION CENTER EXISTING FACILITY OVERVIEW • Constructed in 2002. • Deliveries from Central Campus receiving arrive here for multiple sports. This is problematic for sports currently in Huskie Stadium. • Existing mechanical yard/cooling tower on north side is poorly screened, creating an undesirable appearance on that side of the building. • Existing exterior stair access to practice court is highly used by student-athletes but is uncovered and becomes icy and dangerous in winter months. • There is no internal concourse to speak of in the building, which means spectators cannot travel from one side of the building to the other without going into the seating bowl and using the cross aisle between the upper and lower seating areas. • North side entrance is non-descript but is heavily used during events, and is the main entrance to NIU athletics administration. It needs a stronger identity. • The south entrance is seen as important as identity and image for the building, especially with regards to selling the building as a stand alone entity for non-NIU events such as concerts, etc. It is currently non-descript and hard to notice.

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NIU CONVOCATION CENTER PROPOSED FACILITY IMPROVEMENTS • A perimeter addition that rings the facility from the lobbies on the north side to the lobby on the south side will create an interior concourse to allow patrons to move from one side of the building to the other without entering the seating bowl. • Expansion of the team store will ease congestion and improve patron experience in the existing store during events. • The new perimeter addition will create a more visible entrance at the south side of the building, increasing the marketability of the building for non-NIU athletic events. • Improvements to the north side entrance include a canopy structure and an expanded, paved plaza area. • Additional concession stands and lobby and display areas to showcase NIU Athletic accomplishments will be included.

New Convocation Center Layout

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