Building on a Vision: Campus Construction at Notre Dame


When the construction work so conspicuously under way on the Notre Dame campus is completed, the University will have expanded the space available for research, teaching, and residence by 1.4 million square feet. Never before in its 173- year history has Notre Dame undertaken a building initiative as large, ambitious, and transformative. And the present audacious project is deeply rooted in the vision for Notre Dame: to be a preeminent research university with a distinctive Catholic mission and an unsurpassed undergraduate education.

“At a time when some are questioning the future of the residential college campus,” Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said, “we believe the investment in these new facilities, which will house new research and teaching venues, several academic departments, a much-expanded student center, a digital media center, and a variety of hospitality and programming spaces, will greatly enhance the campus experience for all those who study, live, and work at Notre Dame.

“Since its founding, one of Notre Dame’s greatest assets has been the boldness of its vision, the ability to see possibilities and connections where others saw only obstacles and fragmentation. This project continues that boldness of vision.”

— Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

Among the new buildings now rising on campus are the three new structures comprising the Campus Crossroads Project which adjoin and enhance the Notre Dame Stadium on its west, south, and east sides.

The Duncan Student Center, on the stadium’s west side, is designed to complement the facilities of LaFortune Student Center. Its nine stories will enclose 400,000 square feet of space for a new hub of student life at Notre Dame, housing flexible, state-of-the-art meeting rooms, graduate and undergraduate student lounges, a dining area, and administrative offices for student organizations. Two of its levels will include recreational sports facilities as the Rolfs Sports Recreation Center becomes the practice home for Notre Dame’s men’s and women’s basketball programs.

On the stadium’s south side, a new six-story building will make possible the relocation of the University’s Department of Music from its present quarters in Crowley Hall, bringing it under the same roof as the program of Sacred Music at Notre Dame. Fronted by the Frank Leahy Gate grand entrance to the stadium, the new music building will include recital and rehearsal halls, a large and growing music library, classrooms, rehearsal and tutoring rooms, lounge space, and administrative offices, and its location will place Notre Dame musicians in advantageous proximity to such campus venues as the Reyes Organ and Choral Hall and other arts facilities in the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

Under construction on the stadium’s east side, the nine-story, 280,000-square-foot Corbett Family Hall will provide a home for the hitherto widely dispersed offices and laboratories of the University’s Departments of Anthropology and Psychology. The new building also will house a digital media center with a 2,000-square-foot studio, numerous production, teaching, and research facilities, and a control room to support such distinctive Notre Dame programming as Masses at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, athletic events, arts performances, and academic lectures.

As it surrounds Notre Dame Stadium, the Campus Crossroads Project is transforming an icon of the University’s landscape, but bold visions are translated into brick, mortar, and steel elsewhere on campus as well.

To the north of the stadium, just east of Hesburgh Library, the first dedicated research building on Notre Dame’s campus, McCourtney Hall, is taking shape. This 220,000-square- foot facility, the first of a planned east campus research complex for the Colleges of Science and Engineering, the hall will become home to the departments of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry and biochemistry. The three-story building will include two wings and a central core for faculty offices and conference rooms, and some 100,000 square feet of open laboratory and team spaces.

Farther north, two new residence halls, one for 225 women and one for 221 men, are under construction. Their completion by the fall of 2016 should help alleviate current housing pressure in an academic community where approximately 80 percent of the undergraduate students reside on campus.

Jenkins Hall, which will house the new Keough School of Global Affairs, and Nanovic Hall, the new home for the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the departments of economics, political science, and sociology, are now under construction on the southwestern corner of the campus. Father Jenkins, for whom the former was named, said that these new adjoined buildings, more than simply providing the University with an additional 172,000 square feet of academic space, “will inspire us to become a more global university, bringing the world to Notre Dame and Notre Dame to the world.” He may well have been speaking not only of these two new halls, but of all construction ongoing across campus.