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Volume 96, Issue 2

Life of the body
Photography by Dan Dry

Red sky at night, athlete’s delight: the forecast is good for the recently launched Gerald Ratner Athletics Center, giving the University of Chicago community a space to stretch muscles as well as minds.

Only 94 years after Bartlett Gymnasium opened for business and 71 years after the Henry Crown Field House was built, the University of Chicago has gotten physical once again, this time with a $51-million athletics complex at the corner of 55th and Ellis, to the east of Stagg Field. The Gerald Ratner Athletics Center isn’t quite finished (by mid-November, to give just one example, none of the building’s clocks had been installed). Indeed after a sprint to meet deadlines for an October 11 dedication, the Ratner facilities staff has settled into the marathon pace of punch lists and follow-through details.

Still the big picture is shaping up nicely. From 6 a.m. until midnight, Monday through Friday (the hours are slightly shorter on weekends), Ratner offers the campus community a striking destination when the urge to exercise strikes. Wanting an athletic “village” rather than a box, architects Cesar and Rafael Pelli crossed visual boundaries the way U of C professors cross disciplinary lines, and Chicago athletes in one arena are always aware of those in the next field over. True to form, they take their training seriously.—M.R.Y.









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