Roosevelt University opens a first in the Loop

Roosevelt University will open the new Lillian and Larry Goodman Center, a two-floor athletic facility located at 501 S. Wabash Ave. in Chicago’s South Loop, on Dec. 1 with a Roosevelt Lakers women’s basketball game at 1 p.m. and a men’s basketball game at 3 p.m. Both teams will play Trinity Christian College.

The first stand-alone facility for college athletics to be located in Chicago’s Loop, the Lillian and Larry Goodman Center is a 28,000-square-foot field house that will host home games for the Roosevelt Lakers men’s and women’s basketball teams and women’s volleyball team. A variety of athletic department competitions and events, intramural and recreational programming for the Roosevelt community and other external functions also will be held in the new facility.

“We are pleased to open an athletics facility on our Chicago Campus,” said Roosevelt University President Charles Middleton, who reinstated intercollegiate athletics for men at the university after a 21-year absence in 2010 and who instituted a program for women for the first time in the university’s history that same academic year.

“With this new structure, we are strengthening our commitment to our athletics program as well as to our nearly 200 student athletes who are a growing and vital part of the university community,” said Middleton.

Located at the southeast corner of Congress Parkway and Wabash Avenue, the new Goodman Center includes a multi-purpose gymnasium on the second floor, which has retractable bleachers with seating for 500 people. The facility also will house: administrative offices for athletics staff, a varsity-athletics strength and conditioning center, an athletics training room, team meeting rooms, student lounge and locker rooms on the first floor — much of which will be built out by the spring of 2013.

The Goodman Center is named after Larry Goodman, a life-long Chicagoan, entrepreneur, philanthropist and sports enthusiast who made a lead gift of $3 million for the project, and Goodman’s late wife, Lillian.

The sleek tan-colored complex with tinted-ribbon windows and a corner glass entryway was designed by architect Solomon Cordwell Buenz as a companion and gateway to the university’s historic Auditorium Building and 32-story glass-and-steel Wabash Building, both of which are adjacent on the north side of Congress Parkway. Power Construction is the building contractor.

“The new athletic facility was designed with the look and feel of the Auditorium and Wabash buildings in mind, creating a contiguous campus for the university for the first time on the south side of Congress Parkway,” said the project’s lead architect Devon Patterson of Solomon Cordwell Buenz.

Featuring a number of sustainable features, including a 3,500-square-foot green roof with native plants, the Goodman Center is expected to be LEED certified. Construction of the project began on July 26, 2011. Phase one of the building’s construction cost is estimated at $11.1 million, while phase two on the first floor is expected to cost $1 million.

“These are exciting times for the Roosevelt Lakers and our efforts to continue to recruit players and grow the university’s athletics program,” said Mike Cassidy, director of intercollegiate athletics and assistant vice president for health and human wellness.

The Roosevelt Lakers compete at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) level in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference (CCAC) in men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s golf, baseball and softball.