The new Anderson Hall brings nearly all aspects of the Northwestern athletics under one roof. Located east of McGaw Memorial Hall, the 35,000 square-foot building has garnered overwhelmingly positive responses, said Brad Hurlbut, associate director of intercollegiate administration.
Last summer, administrators and coaches, who had been scattered throughout old football offices in Ryan Field and trailers during construction, moved into the two-story building along with the academic advising center and the marketing and media services departments. Now the volleyball, field hockey, wrestling, softball, men’s and women’s golf, cross country and baseball head coaches each have their own office while their assistants share a larger office. All sports administrators occupy the south wing of the building.
The Ron Burton Academic Advising Center and the Ken Kraft Wrestling Complex are the highlights of the $9 million project, which allows more interaction between student-athletes and administrators.
“It’s great for us to see the players here, instead of just at a game or a practice when we don’t have that much time to sit and talk with them,” Hurlbut said.
The Ron Burton Academic Advising Center, with its computer lab and study lounge filled with tables and couches, is a major upgrade over the former space converted from old racquetball courts. Administrators hope that making the center the focal point for student-athletes will also make the Northwestern athletic program more enticing to recruits and their parents. The Burton center is named after one of Northwestern’s football greats and member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
The Ken Kraft Wrestling Complex is housed on the lower level (basement) of the building, and it improves upon the makeshift rings in Patten Gym the wrestling team practiced on for the past two years. The complex is named after Kraft, a senior associate athletic director who retired in June of 2004 and had earned four letters with the Wildcat wrestling team before serving as its head coach for 22 years. He is a member of Northwestern’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Beyond being a better training facility, it, too, will be a boost to recruiting, officials expect.
“When you bring kids in here on visits and they see this, they know Northwestern is really committed to wrestling,” said Hurlbut.
The new building replaced the 42-year-old Anderson Hall which was torn down on the same spot in February 2004. The 8,000-foot addition and rooftop patio for game-time gatherings is an improvement over the leaky ceilings and cramped spaces of the old building, according to Hurlbut.
The Chicago architect firm of Nagle, Hartray, Danker, McKay, Penney designed the building, and Berglund Construction served as general contractor.
(Alexis Crawford is a senior in the Medill School of Journalism.)