USA: Demolition of 98-year-old stadium in Chicago underway

source:; author: Paulina Skóra

USA: Demolition of 98-year-old stadium in Chicago underway After nearly 100 years of hosting football fans, Ryan Field will be nothing but a memory in about four months. Demolition work began in February. Later, construction of a new facility will commence on the same site.


98 years of history

Valued at over $1.5 million, Ryan Field was one of the premier college stadiums in the country when it opened in 1926. Initially accommodating around 25,000 spectators, after expansions and the addition of the southern arc, it reached a capacity of just over 47,000 seats. It served as the flagship venue for NU Athletics. In November 2023, the last game was played at this stadium.

Its name is attributed to Patrick Ryan, a business executive, former chairman of the board of Northwestern University (NU), and philanthropist. He is also the main source of funding for the new football field.

Massive private investment

The new stadium, funded privately, will have only 35,000 seats, a significant reduction from the current 47,000. It will be by far the smallest venue in the Big Ten - one of the conferences of the American intercollegiate games. Construction will begin after the demolition of the old building and site preparation. The investment cost will be $800 million. NU has also signed a 15-year social benefits agreement, providing $10 million annually for various local programs.

Ryan Field©

Demolition underway, residents complain

Currently, work is ongoing on the western side of the stadium, with demolition of the north tower expected to begin in the coming days. Demolition of the press box is also set to begin in the next two to three weeks. Meanwhile, work continues on removing existing foundations and small architectural elements, testing and installing ground anchors, as well as installing utilities and drainage systems for the future stadium.

Despite vocal opposition from some members of the community, Evanston Mayor Daniel Biss overturned a City Council resolution and supported a change in the stadium's zoning plan to allow NU to host concerts there. Many nearby residents complain of constant noise and vibrations from demolition work. At this point, there's nothing we can do. The agreement has been made, said one of the residents in an interview with the Daily Northwestern.

Northwestern University has even launched a website, Rebuild Ryan Field, which will provide updates on project milestones and efforts to minimize disruptions in the area. The construction manager, Central Street Consortium, a joint venture between Turner Construction Company and Walsh Construction, will periodically release site updates throughout the project's duration.

Ryan Field©