“We will host training camp practices at Halas Hall in 2020, while maintaining a public component to many of the sessions to incorporate our loyal and passionate fans,” said Bears president and CEO Ted Phillips.
The Bears are grateful to ONU as well as the communities of Bourbonnais, Bradley and Kankakee for their support.
“Olivet Nazarene University continues to be a valued and committed partner,” Phillips said. “But with the recent investment in our campus expansion and state-of-the-art facilities in Lake Forest, we feel it is important to stay home for training camp. We would like to thank Olivet Nazarene University, including president John Bowling, and the Bourbonnais community for their 18 years of partnership and hospitality.”
The Bears last held training camp at Halas Hall during nine summers from 1975-83. In returning home, they’re following a league-wide trend.
In 1990, only three NFL teams held training camp at their home facilities. But this summer the Bears will be among 25 of 32 teams that won’t travel to a different location. Teams that have recently returned home for camp include the Jets, Giants, Eagles, Cardinals, Bengals, Ravens and Vikings.
Last August the Bears unveiled an expanded Halas Hall, highlighted by a 162,500-square foot football operations addition to the already-existing 143,000-square foot facility and a 30,600-square-foot remodeling project on the northeast side of the building.
Position meeting rooms and the draft room doubled in size, while coaches’ offices increased by 50 percent. A 3,250-square-foot players’ lounge was created, along with an a 1,700-square-foot player locker room. The coaches/scouts locker room was also expanded and now includes a sauna and steam room.
The weight room increased by 2,000 square feet, 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-square-foot indoor turf space was also added.
Through a separate construction project, two additional football fields were built to the east of the Walter Payton Center, which allows the Bears to spread out the field use over four fields. That project also included the addition of a training slope, a storage facility and a practice viewing suite for corporate partners.