Notre Dame Stadium project to begin in November

Margaret Fosmoe
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND -- The University of Notre Dame will begin construction in late November on Campus Crossroads, the $400 million project that will add three academic buildings onto Notre Dame Stadium and premium seating to the famous 84-year-old football stadium.

The 800,000-square-foot project will take approximately 33 months, with completion expected in summer 2017.

The final home football game of the 2014 season is vs. Louisville on Nov. 22. A day or two after that game, construction will commence on Campus Crossroads, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, Notre Dame's president, said Wednesday in a telephone interview.

Campus Crossroads will involve constructing new academic and student life buildings on the east, west and south exterior of the football stadium.

The plan for the project was unveiled last year and approved in January.

The project will include premium seating for fans, outdoor terraces overlooking the football field and media space on the top floors of both the east and west buildings.

The construction project is not expected to affect the Fighting Irish football schedule and no home games will be moved to other locations because of the work.

The project will affect Notre Dame spring commencement ceremonies for the next few years, however. Commencement has been held in Notre Dame Stadium for the past five years. Because of the construction, the spring 2015 commencement will be held indoors in Purcell Pavilion in the Joyce Center, and perhaps the spring 2016 commencement, as well, Jenkins said.

Once Campus Crossroads is completed, the university will resume holding commencement in Notre Dame Stadium, he said.

"We're pleased with commencement in the stadium," Jenkins said, noting the outdoor venue allows graduates to invite as many friends and relatives to the ceremony as they want.

Here is the construction schedule:

-- Starting about Nov. 24, construction will begin on the east and west buildings.

-- Work on the south building will begin in November 2015.

-- The entire project is expected to be completed by August 2017.

The project includes:

-- A nine-story student center/student life building on the west side. The student center will fill the first five floors of the building, and include meeting rooms, a fitness facility, student lounges, a dining area, student organization space, administrative offices, a career services center and a 500-seat ballroom. The upper floors will contain boxes for home and visiting coaches, security booths, and boxes for administrative and athletic department leaders, booths for NBC Sports and the existing press box will be renovated into premium seating for the football stadium.

-- A nine-story anthropology/psychology/digital media center on the east side. Laboratories, classrooms, and offices for the anthropology and psychology departments will occupy four levels of the building, with one level devoted to digital media. The upper floors will contain the stadium press box, outdoor club seating, a large space that will double as a club area and a flexible classroom, and radio booths.

-- A six-story music building on the south side. The Department of Music and Sacred Music program will move to this facility, which is slated to include recital and rehearsal halls, a music library and a 350-seat club/lounge.

Revenue generated through premium seating football ticket sales will be used to help pay for the project and to maintain the new academic and student life buildings, according to the university.

The project is expected to add more than 2,000 additional seats to Notre Dame Stadium, university spokesman Paul Browne said. The stadium currently seats 80,795.

A precise figure for total seating after the project is complete hasn't been announced. There is internal discussion of possibly reconfiguring some of the seats in the existing bowl, although no major changes are planned, Browne said.

No part of the project will be completed and occupied until August 2017, Browne said. While the west building is being constructed, the existing press box will remain in place and operational for the 2015 and 2016 football seasons. Following the 2016 season, the press box will be demolished and the remaining portion of the west building will finished, he said.

Notre Dame has a longstanding policy of not beginning construction projects until 100 percent of the required funding is identified and 70 percent of the cash is on hand.

Regarding the east and west buildings, Jenkins said: "We expect that 70 percent to be on hand when construction begins in November. It's pledged."

Work continues to secure funding from benefactors for the south building, and the money is expected to be in place by the time that construction is slated to begin in late 2015, the priest said.

Some preliminary work will be visible to those on campus and visiting football fans this fall, Jenkins said.

That likely will include removal of trees surrounding the stadium.

Some of those trees will be replanted in other areas of campus, including in Cedar Grove Cemetery and on the nine-hole Burke Golf Course, both of which lost numerous trees in a storm earlier this summer, university officials said. When Campus Crossroads is completed, new trees will be planted to replace those that were removed for the construction project.

University leaders have described Campus Crossroads as an academic and student life project designed to make the stadium area a crossroads for students, faculty and academic life.

Jenkins said the project is an affirmation of the university's commitment to maintaining a compact, residential campus.

"We want Notre Dame to be a walkable campus because that enhances the sense of community," he said. Having three major academic and student life buildings in close proximity, and near DeBartolo Hall, the university's major classroom building, will result in increased student/faculty interactions in that area of campus on a daily basis, Jenkins said.

"It means a greater opportunity for interaction and education," he said.

The lead architecture firm for Campus Crossroads is The S/L/A/M Collaborative, with RATIO Architects as the co-designer. Other consultants include Workshop Architects for the student center and 360 Architecture for the recreation, fitness and hospitality areas. The contractor will be Barton Malow Co.

Notre Dame Stadium opened in 1930. It was modeled, on a smaller scale, after the University of Michigan’s football stadium. The original stadium had seating for 59,075 people. An expansion in the 1990s costing $53 million added new seating, permanent lighting, two new scoreboards and a new press box.

See more details about the project at:



 ND Stadium expansion project unveiled In this artists rendering provided by The University of Notre Dame is the school's new football stadium.