Homecoming to include Ratner groundbreaking ceremonyBy Jennifer Leovy
As the football Maroons prepare for their Saturday, Oct. 28 homecoming game against longtime rival Washington University, sports enthusiasts from across campus will celebrate a special kickoff of their own. This year, homecoming festivities will include a groundbreaking ceremony for the Gerald Ratner Athletics Center, which will be located between 55th and 56th streets at Ellis Avenue.
Although construction on the athletics center will not begin until Winter Quarter, University officials, faculty, students, staff and alumni will seize the moment, and the warmer weather, to celebrate with ceremonial shovels on Stagg Field.
According to Tom Weingartner, Chairman of Physical Education & Athletics and Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, during the winter months more than 3,000 students, faculty, staff and alumni use Henry Crown Field House each day. Weingartner said the Ratner Athletics Center, with its array of athletic facilities and extended hours (6 a.m. to midnight daily) will accommodate many more members of the University community.
In short, along with the library, the Ratner Athletics Center will become one of the most used buildings on campusand not only as an athletics and recreational facility, but as a kind of social center and meeting place for the entire campus community, said Weingartner. It is a building that has been long-awaited and eagerly anticipated.
Picnic fare and family festivities will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Stagg Field. The groundbreaking ceremony will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will include remarks by President Randel, Weingartner, Gerald Ratner (Ph.B., 35, J.D.,37) and Cesar Pelli, the architect who has designed the new center. Among the students participating in the event will be representatives from sports clubs, intramural and varsity teams, recreational athletes and the pep band.
A construction-site sign with the most recent architectural rendering of the building will be unveiled. The football game will kick off at 1:30 p.m.
Architecture buffs will have an opportunity to hear from Pelli later that day, in a lecture he will give in conjunction with the Universitys Humanities Open House. Pelli will discuss his design for the Ratner Athletics Center as well as his other buildings at 3 p.m. in Max Palevsky Cinema in Ida Noyes Hall. The discussion is free and reservations are not required.
For more information on the groundbreaking ceremony, please visit http://www.alumni.uchicago.edu.