Chicago Bulls host opening of Advocate Center

September 12, 2014 — The Chicago Bulls today hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony for the team’s new downtown training facility, the Advocate Center. Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, President and COO Michael Reinsdorf, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations John Paxson and General Manager Gar Forman were joined by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr., and Advocate Health Care President and CEO Jim Skogsbergh to commemorate the official opening.

“Today is a historic day for our team and the City of Chicago, not only for officially opening this world-class facility, but because we are bringing our Chicago Bulls downtown,” said Jerry Reinsdorf. “I want to thank Mayor Emanuel and local community leaders for their continuous support throughout the process. I also want to thank Advocate, an incredible partner of the Chicago Bulls. It has been amazing to watch the Advocate Center come to life over the past year. We know this facility will play a key role in achieving our team’s number one goal – winning championships – while also having an impact on the redevelopment efforts for the Near West Side neighborhood.”

“Chicago is a great place to live, work and play, and since the Bulls already play here, I am thrilled that the team can now do their daily work at the Advocate Center and in close proximity to the United Center,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This investment by the Chicago Bulls, like many others across the city, is helping to drive the revitalization of a great neighborhood.”

“We are excited about the new facility and our continued partnership with the Chicago Bulls to strengthen our communities,” said Jim Skogsbergh. “We are looking forward to working closely with Chicago Bulls Charities as they focus on health and wellness, youth education, and violence prevention.”

Joining the celebration were three special Advocate patients who officially cut the ribbon. Heart transplant patient Ray Thompson, pediatric patient Ricardo Guthrie and breast cancer survivor Janice Bailey, were thrilled to join the festivities.

In June 2012, the Bulls announced their decision to relocate the training facility to Chicago in an effort to improve player convenience while fostering collaboration between the team’s basketball operations and front office staff. Within the next year, the Bulls selected a site location and broke ground across from the United Center on South Wood Street between Monroe and Madison Streets. In June 2014, the team announced an expanded multi-year agreement with Advocate, which included naming the training facility the “Advocate Center.”

"I'm extremely excited that the new Bulls facility is located in the 27th Ward,” said Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr. “This will bring tourism and help generate development in the area."

Approximately 60,000-square-feet in size, the Advocate Center features a “saw-toothed façade” on the west side of the building. The north side of the building features opaque glass at eye level that becomes increasingly transparent at higher levels allowing Bulls fans to view the team’s six championship banners hanging from the building’s rafters as they walk along Madison Street. Additionally, Madison and Wood Streets are lined with new trees and landscaping.

The facility provides a seamless transition for Bulls players as they move between fitness, nutrition and therapy areas with state-of-the-art-equipment and energy efficient technologies allowing players and coaches to operate each room’s electricity and temperature from a single device. Other amenities include a specialized sound system throughout the facility and a fiber optic line between the United Center and Advocate Center to instantly share information.

The main level of the facility houses two full-size basketball courts, expanded locker rooms with therapeutic hydro-pools, video room, coaches’ offices, updated weight room and a designated media room. The first floor is also equipped with a customized Gatorade Sports Fuel Bar to assist in the training, hydration and recovery of the players. The second floor contains a green roof terrace, executive offices, conference rooms and a perched cardio room.

The building’s exterior incorporates Advocate Center branding on the north, east and west sides, with interior signage located in the basketball court area and video room.

Athletico Physical Therapy, a valued team partner for more than 10 years and Exclusive Physical and Occupational Therapy Provider for the Bulls, serves as the lead sponsor for an auxiliary building located on the east side of the Advocate Center. The building will offer players the convenience to receive on-site therapies and training assistance from Athletico therapists and athletic trainers during practice and after home games. The Athletico building is scheduled to open in early 2015.

The Bulls and Advocate share a commitment to improving the lives of those in need and honoring those who have conquered challenging medical circumstances. On October 16th, Advocate is sponsoring the Bulls’ preseason game vs. the Atlanta Hawks to highlight its support of Breast Cancer Awareness month and its successful initiative, “Stories of the Girls.” To incorporate the pink theme, the team will turn all arena and in-game elements pink and encourage all Bulls fans to show their support by wearing pink. This is the second consecutive year Advocate has sponsored a Bulls preseason game focused on Breast Cancer Awareness. Additionally, the Bulls and Advocate partner on current programs, including “Safety Together,” which enlists the help of Bulls team mascot Benny the Bull to educate young people in local schools about the importance of hand washing and cleanliness. Bulls players and Bulls Entertainment Network performers will continue to visit Advocate Children’s Hospital locations to spend time with patients and their families while distributing gifts, taking pictures and signing autographs.

The firm, 360 Architecture, was the lead project architect for the Advocate Center, and McHugh Construction served as the General Contractor.

The Bulls have practiced in the Sheri L. Berto Center in Deerfield, Ill., since 1992, and intend to sell the current practice facility.

About Advocate Health Care
Advocate Health Care, named among the nation’s Top 5 large health systems based on quality by Truven Analytics, is the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest health care providers in the Midwest. Advocate operates more than 250 sites of care, including 12 hospitals that encompass 11 acute care hospitals, the state’s largest integrated children’s network, five Level I trauma centers (the state’s highest designation in trauma care), three Level II trauma centers, one of the area’s largest home health care companies and one of the region’s largest medical groups. Advocate Health Care trains more primary care physicians and residents at its four teaching hospitals than any other health system in the state. As a not-for-profit, mission-based health system affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ, Advocate contributed $614 million in charitable care and services to communities across Chicagoland and Central Illinois in 2012.

Michael Reinsdorf, President and COO, Chicago Bulls
“We have looked forward to opening this state-of-the-art training facility and I know the players are especially excited to get in here and start working,” said Michael Reinsdorf, President and COO, Chicago Bulls. “The Bulls are eager to embark on the next phase of our community efforts with Advocate during the 2014-15 season, beginning with the Breast Cancer Awareness pre-season game in October. We made a commitment to finding more ways that both organizations can make a difference in Chicago and this is just the start.”

John Paxson, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Chicago Bulls
"The opening of the Advocate Center will provide our players, coaches and training staff with elite resources to condition, practice and rehabilitate," said John Paxson, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations, Chicago Bulls. "As an organization, we will be afforded the opportunity to strengthen the collaboration between our basketball and business operations staffs to deliver our fans a team to be proud of and give us a more consistent presence in the Chicago community."

Gar Forman, General Manager, Chicago Bulls
“We are thrilled to welcome our players to the Advocate Center for the 2014-15 season,” said Gar Forman, General Manager, Chicago Bulls. “We are confident that the Advocate Center’s unparalleled amenities and modern technology coupled with the convenience of a downtown location will provide our players with the tools they need to compete at the highest level.”

Michael Meagher, Senior Vice President, James McHugh Construction Co.
“We truly value the opportunity to serve what we believe is one of the best sports franchises in the United States,” said Michael Meagher, Senior Vice President, James McHugh Construction Co. “Their building leadership team matches their reputation. We are most proud of the fact that the Bulls organization took the initiative in setting MBE and WBE participation goals for the project – that’s very unusual on a 100% privately funded project and they are setting a great example for other private owners.”

George Heinlein, Senior Principal, 360 Architecture
“It has been an honor to continue our work with the Bulls organization on this exciting project,” said George Heinlein, Senior Principal, 360 Architecture. “Their forward-thinking approach and appreciation for design has resulted in a world-class facility for the players and staff. The Advocate Center will provide improved synergies for the team and further integrate them into the heart of the downtown community.”

Mark Kaufman, Founder and President, Athletico Physical Therapy
“Athletico Physical Therapy and the Chicago Bulls have shared a strong and mutually beneficial partnership for over 10 years,” said Mark Kaufman, Founder and President of Athletico Physical Therapy. “The Chicago Bulls are a world class organization and we are proud to partner with a group that shares our core values. We are very much looking forward to bringing our medical service to the West Side Chicago community and help people continue to do the things they love. The same renowned service we provide to the Chicago Bulls will be provided to the West Side Chicago community.”

Jeff Kearney, Senior Director, Gatorade Sports Marketing
“Sports fueling is the next frontier in meeting athletes’ performance needs and no one is better equipped to help meet those needs than Gatorade,” said Jeff Kearney, Senior Director, Gatorade Sports Marketing. “In partnership with the Chicago Bulls, we are thrilled to debut the first NBA installed Gatorade Fuel Bar in the new Advocate Center. The Gatorade Fuel Bar puts the importance of sports fueling front and center and provides the training staff, strength coaches and their athletes with the education, resources and products they need for training and competition.”