The Lillian and Larry Goodman Center, the first stand-alone facility for college athletics in Chicago's Loop, is the latest addition to Roosevelt University's downtown Chicago campus and serves as the home for Roosevelt Lakers Athletics.
Located at 501 S. Wabash Avenue, which is the southeast corner of the prominent intersection known as Congress Parkway and Wabash Avenue, the Goodman Center is a two-story, 27,834-gross-square-foot field house featuring a multi-purpose gymnasium on the second floor and first-floor space containing offices, meeting rooms, a team lounge, locker rooms, an athletic training room and a strength and conditioning center.
The $12.1 million Goodman Center was opened to the public for the first time on December 1, 2012 to host the Roosevelt basketball teams' games against Trinity Christian as the remainder of the first floor was built out. The rest of the facility was completed in late July 2013, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony taking place on July 31 to welcome the Roosevelt community to the new crown jewel of athletic facilities in the area.
The second-floor gym, which features retractable bleacher seating for approximately 500 people and six retractable basketball hoops, is the practice and competition home for the Roosevelt Lakers men's and women's basketball and women's volleyball teams. The gymnasium is also versatile enough to host training activities for other Laker sports, intramural and recreational programming, and special campus events for the entire Roosevelt community.
In addition to the basketball and volleyball court setup, the Goodman Center gym features two retractable batting cages with portable synthetic turf for indoor baseball and softball hitting and pitching drills.
Larry Goodman, a life-long Chicagoan, entrepreneur, philanthropist and sports enthusiast, made the lead donation for the project to greatly enhance student campus life at Roosevelt. In honor of Mr. Goodman's generosity and dedication to the Roosevelt community, the facility is named after Mr. Goodman and his late wife, Lillian.
"This building is more than a gymnasium," said Mr. Goodman. "It is a symbol of community and student pride for Roosevelt University. I was looking for a project where I could give back to the community-the City of Chicago-and this is it."
The completion of the Goodman Center marks a major milestone in the young history of Roosevelt's intercollegiate athletic program. During the 2010-11 academic year, Roosevelt reinstated intercollegiate athletics for men after a 21-year absence and started an athletics program for women for the first time. 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 indoor and outdoor track and field, men's and women's tennis, men's golf, baseball and softball.
"The completion of this facility is a real milestone moment for our Roosevelt community, and our athletic department," said Michael Cassidy, Roosevelt's first director of intercollegiate athletics since the revival of the department. "This facility will be an epicenter of University pride and spirit. It will be a place our students can compete, recreate and have experiences that will carry them long after graduation. We are grateful to all of those who helped take this project from a parking lot to a palace, especially the Lillian and Larry Goodman Foundation for their generosity and vision of what this place could become."
Featuring a number of sustainable features, including a 3,500-square-foot green roof with native plants, the Goodman Center is LEED certified. Designed by Solomon Cordwell Buenz and built by Power Construction, the project began on July 26, 2011 and ended on July 24, 2013.