Leadership Notes > DePaul Athletics practice facility update

DePaul Athletics practice facility update

​Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students,

Over the last several months, DePaul Athletics has been working closely with our neighbors and community groups to engage in conversations about our plans to build a new practice facility for our student-athletes. Based on the feedback we received from our neighbors, we made certain modifications to the practice facility design and committed to the historical preservation of several iconic buildings on our campus. 

Earlier today, we formally presented the Neighborhood Advisory Committee with the latest design, sustainability, and landscaping plans for the project. The NAC was receptive to the revised proposal. DePaul will detail these revisions and will continue to garner feedback by hosting a second public meeting in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I wanted to share an update with our university community.

As Peter Coffey, associate vice president for community and government relations, shared in his November update, the community's involvement in the project has been significant. Several community members, including the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce, have expressed their support for the project, both in the public forum and directly to Alderman Timmy Knudsen’s office. This collaborative effort is a testament to the community's commitment to the project. However, the community also shared preservation concerns about the buildings that will be razed to make space for the new facility.

As a result of this input, we engaged the NAC, established by DePaul in the 1980s and comprised of presidents and representatives of our surrounding neighborhood associations, to provide further feedback on the project. In addition to voicing preservation concerns, the committee requested design enhancements to ensure the practice facility’s proposed façade more closely matches the aesthetic of the neighborhood and included more emphasis on sustainability. The committee also requested we enhance the landscaping design to make the northwest corner of Belden and Sheffield feel more open and pedestrian friendly.

At this morning’s NAC meeting, we presented a preview of our revised plans, which included the requested architectural and design changes, several sustainability initiatives including the addition of solar panels on the roof which will reduce energy consumption by 10%, and setbacks in the facility footprint to allow for wider sidewalks with brick paving and enhanced landscaping. 

To help offset the necessary loss of buildings on Sheffield Avenue, DePaul will historically preserve and restore several iconic campus buildings to benefit the entire community:

  • ​​​Specifically, DePaul will move forward with the historical landmarking of the Cortelyou Commons façade. 
  • ​Additionally, DePaul will work with the Vincentian Congregation of the Mission to explore the landmarking of the jointly owned Byrne Hall building. 
  • Finally, DePaul will commit to a significant investment in repairing the façade of O’Connell Hall. 
We will share more information about the history of these iconic campus buildings and the university’s commitment to preservation in the coming weeks. 

The evolution of this project’s design and approach illustrates how deeply DePaul values its relationship with our Lincoln Park neighbors and the City of Chicago. We are grateful to the community members who engage in conversations with our university, and we carefully analyze and act on that feedback whenever possible. 

As we collectively work to design DePaul’s future—through the Designing DePaul framework​—ambitious philanthropic expansions, such as the campaign to fund this project, are critical for our shared future. Our entire university will benefit from a healthy, vibrant athletics program. Athletics should be strategically utilized as the university’s “front porch,” using our robust media value to nationally offer prospective students their first glimpse into our extraordinary university. While these projects are certain to drive athletic success, more importantly, they will enhance national visibility, brand awareness, and affinity for DePaul, each in alignment with the university’s overall goals to boost enrollment, student success, and philanthropic support.

We will continue conversing with our campus community, shared governance body, neighbors, and Alderman Knudsen’s office in the coming months. I’m very proud of the deliberate nature and care everyone from our university community is contributing to this process. Thank you all for your continued engagement and support.

Go Blue Demons!

DeWayne Peevy
Vice President and Director of Athletics​​