by Dan Rafter
The University of Notre Dame made history on Jan. 29. That’s when the university in South Bend, Ind., announced plans for the largest building project in its 172-year history.
The project will cover 750,000 square feet in three new buildings attached to the west, east and south sides of the university’s famed football stadium. The price tag? An estimated $400 million.
The expansion, known as the Campus Crossroads Project, comes at the same time that Notre Dame has decided to hire 80 new faculty members.
“At a time when some are questioning the future of the residential college campus we believe the investment in these new facilities will greatly enhance the campus experience for all those who study, live, work here and visit Notre Dame,” said Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, in a letter outlining the project.
The new buildings will house research and teaching venues, several academic departments, an expanded student center, a digital media center and a variety of hospitality and programming spaces.
Students, though, shouldn’t expect to see the new buildings any time soon. Notre Dame announced that construction will begin in two years or sooner and take about 33 months.
The project is the result of a feasibility study that looked at ways to expand the use of Notre Dame stadium. That stadium, of course, is one of the most famous in college football. But, as Notre Dame officials say, it is woefully underused, with events taking place there just 10 to 12 times every year.
The Campus Crossroads project will change that.
The three new buildings will attach to and serve the stadium. The west building will house student-life services, and will include space for student organizations, a recreation center and career center. The east building will be the new home for the anthropology and psychology departments and a digital media center. The south building will house the university’s Department of Music and Sacred Music at Notre Dame program. The east and west buildings will also include from 3,000 to 4,000 premium seats for the football stadium.
“To put together a plan of this magnitude, with so many varied interests involved, in such a short time was a huge challenge,”John Affleck-Graves, the university’s executive vice president, in a written statement. “And yet our faculty and staff rose to the occasion.”