The NIU Athletics Facility Master Plan, a comprehensive document that will help chart the future of Huskie Athletics, provides for the creation of three new athletics facilities for baseball, tennis and Olympic sports, as well as upgrades to NIU’s softball field, the soccer and track and field complex and the NIU Convocation Center.
Three areas of Huskie Stadium are addressed, with the East Side receiving a major makeover with premium suites and club seating, the creation of a new South Endzone, and phased improvements to the West Side.
The plan was developed following a thorough review of NIU’s existing facilities for all sports, meeting with NIU Athletics coaches and staff, campus partners and stakeholders, and taking into consideration the Campus Master Plan Thesis and athletics’ place in that document. In addition, a survey regarding seating options at Huskie Stadium provided valuable data.
Frazier said he has been pleased with the comprehensive approach used to develop the plan.
“Over the last six months, there has been a thorough process to get us to this point,” he said. “Today is about presenting our plan. We will work with our campus, our community and our donors to move forward. The great news is, we have a plan.”
The Athletics Facility Master Plan is the first developed at NIU since 1991.
AECOM Sport + Venue, a nationally recognized sports architectural firm, worked with NIU Athletics administrators, led by John Cheney, senior associate athletics director for Facilities and Event Operations, to conceptualize the plan. AECOM’s college athletics clients have included Kansas State, Texas Tech, Oregon and Washington State.
During a series of visits to campus and a thorough walk-through of all of NIU’s athletics facilities last spring, AECOM personnel met with Huskie head coaches and support staff, campus partners, a group of NIU donors and alumni and representatives of student government.
A survey regarding Huskie Stadium Seating options was sent to approximately 121,000 people via email, with a response rate of just less than 4 percent. Among those surveyed were alumni, donors and season ticket holders. Based on those meetings and the survey results, AECOM finalized the plan.
A key element of the Athletics Facility Master Plan was incorporating it into the overall Campus Master Plan Thesis. The concepts for the “Athletics Campus” are designed to fit with the future envisioned for the campus as a whole.
“With this plan, we have positioned NIU Athletics to be ready to work together with President Baker and the entire campus community to move NIU forward in a way that will benefit all Huskies,” Frazier said. “This plan represents transformational change, capitalizing on our momentum and involving all of our sports programs, alumni, letterwinners, fans and friends.”
While the Athletics Facilities Master Plan is the result of months of work, it is just the beginning, Frazier said.
“This is a launching point for Huskie Athletics,” Frazier said. “Now that we have the plan, we will move forward with the evaluation of the projects to determine our priorities. I know that I’m excited for the next steps because we have the passion, the drive and the determination to make it happen, and it’s going to be outstanding.”