SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The University of Notre Dame's iconic football
stadium will be flanked by three massive buildings under a $400 million
project that will also create nearly 4,000 premium seats at the "House
that Rockne Built."
The plans for the
buildings were presented to the university's board of trustees during
their meeting Wednesday in Rome.
The Rev. John
Jenkins, the university's president, called it "the most ambitious
building project in the 172-year history of Notre Dame," saying more space
was needed to accommodate the university's broadening research activity.
about this project is it brings together athletics, faculty and academics,
research and a student center, so it's an integrated model," Jenkins said.
The new buildings
will add about 750,000 square feet and will house a student center, the
anthropology and psychology departments, and a digital media center and
music and sacred music departments. The side facing Touchdown Jesus won't
The buildings on
the east and west sides of the stadium will rise nine stories and include
premium seating, increasing the capacity of Notre Dame Stadium from 80,795
to more than 84,000, although widening seats on the benches could cut down
the number of seats. The press box will also move from the west to the
building will be six stories high and include a hospitality area. The
student center will include a recreation center and allow the university
to turn the existing Rolfs Sports Recreation Center into the practice home
for the men's and women's basketball teams.
Jenkins said the
university will seek donations to fund the project. He said construction
would begin next year at the earliest and would take nearly three years.
adding the research buildings to the stadium will avoid campus sprawl, and
he and athletic director Jack Swarbrick said it sends a message about the
importance of academics and athletics.
"It's such a
powerful symbol given what's going on in college athletics right now, that
you can take the stadium and say we believe in the integration of
athletics into academics, and here's the living proof," Swarbrick said.
The work isn't
expected to make any significant changes to the inside of the 84-year-old
stadium, though Jenkins said there's still no decision on whether to add
video boards for instant replay or switch to an artificial playing
surface. Swarbrick said a decision on the playing surface will be made
soon. New grass had to be installed three times last year.
opened in 1930, when Knute Rockne was coach, and had a capacity of 59,075
until it was expanded in 1997. Jenkins said aside from the premium seating
rising above the stadium, the fans won't see much change.
said the club seating areas could also be used for academic events,
classes, conferences and career fairs.
The new buildings
will support Notre Dame's push in recent years to expand its research
efforts, which include adding 11 graduate programs and plans to hire 80
The $400 million
project follows an announcement last fall that Notre Dame would build
Jenkins Hall, named after the university president, to house its Irish and
Asian studies programs. Another planned new building will house the
departments of economics, political science and sociology, as well as the
Nanovic Institute for European Studies.