The Chicago Bears have unveiled the Halas Hall expansion, which includes a 162,500-sq-ft. football operations addition to the existing 143,000-sq.-ft. facility and a 30,600-sq.-ft. renovation on the building’s northeast side.
The project broke ground in March 2018. HOK was the design firm, Mortenson Construction was the general contractor and Corporate Concepts provided the furniture.
“We’re extremely proud to unveil the Halas Hall expansion and renovations and would like to thank HOK, Mortenson, the City of Lake Forest and all of our staff for their roles in the project,” said Bears President and CEO Ted Phillips. “Throughout the process, our goal was to not only develop a more collaborative work flow across the building, but to create an experience for everyone entering Halas Hall so that it becomes more than just a work space. From guests to staff to players and coaches, we want everyone to feel at home.”
“The renovation and expansion of Halas Hall have created a first-class facility that provides a daily reminder and motivation to help us work toward the goal of being a championship team,” said General Manager Ryan Pace. “This upgrade furthers the continued support from the McCaskey family and their commitment to attract, develop and retain the most talented roster both on and off the field.”
A new player entry includes a hallway featuring all 14 of the Bears’ retired numbers, wall/ceiling lights that illuminate as players enter and music capabilities leading up to a 46-foot video wall made up of nine screens. Position meeting rooms and the draft room doubled in capacity, while coaches’ offices that increased in size by 50 percent allow for improved collaboration. A 3,250-sq.-ft. players’ lounge was created, along with an approximately 1,700-sq.-ft. player locker room expansion that includes a barbershop. The expanded coaches/scouts locker room includes a sauna and steam room.
The weight room increased in size by 2,000-sq.-ft., while the equipment room, recovery space and nutrition/fuel station doubled in size. The equipment room now includes a helmet-fitting room, footwear and shoulder pad fitting area, sewing room and high-density storage cabinets. Additionally, the sports medicine space is four times larger than the original area and features two hydrotherapy pools, two plunge pools, a float pod, sauna and steam room. A 13,000-sq.-ft. indoor turf space was also added.
The team and staff café expanded by 4,300 square feet and is now 7,600 square feet, including the dining area and kitchen space. The café features the Bearista coffee bar, a smoothie/juice bar, standalone soup and salad bar, daily live action station and hot food, sandwich and dessert bars. Adjacent to the café is the Sideline, which provides additional seating and lounge space for the players and staff. Atop the expansion is a 4,200-sq.-ft. rooftop dining area and garden from which the café will source herbs.
Halas Hall now features 20 conference rooms named after Bears legends and football terminology, such as the Brian Piccolo Room and Decatur Room. There are seven private phone rooms and a newly added learning center for staff training and professional development. Staff can work or relax in two enclosed patios, which feature exterior walls that open completely to allow in fresh air. The renovation includes a wellness room and expanded staff locker rooms. Coaches and staff each have Huddles featuring coffee and snack bars, refrigerators, microwaves and lounge/dining spaces. In an effort to create more sunlight throughout the building, glass walls were installed and many exterior offices were moved to interior spaces.
New elements include a brick wall featuring the Bears’ traditions script, four individual walls each highlighting a core value (respect, integrity, team, excellence), messaging on various walls displaying the Bears’ mission statement and inspirational quotes, a customized neon ceiling light of George S. Halas’ signature, a ceiling sculpture representing 100 years of Bears’ records and a 14-by-45-foot mural designed by Czr Prz in the indoor turf space. The main lobby features a video board that is 28-by-5 feet. There are approximately 175 video displays in the renovated space.