On Thursday (May 2) afternoon, the University of Notre Dame released an announcement and an image of future plans to upgrade Notre Dame Stadium.
This image provided by the university glances at what the future of Notre Dame Stadium might look like.
These plans are merely in the exploratory phase, with no timetable released on when actual movement of these objectives will occur. However, the aim is to make Notre Dame Stadium the campus hub in areas beyond just football games.
Notre Dame vice president/director of athletics Jack Swarbrick has indicated in the past that Notre Dame Stadium needs to play a more prominent role on campus and in the community beyond hosting six football games per year, an intramural championship, serving as a finish line in a community race each summer, and the university commencement ceremony each May. The potential additions to Notre Dame Stadium could include:
• Space for classrooms, conferences, speakers, meetings, receptions and other events.
• A student center for assembly and activity areas.
• Resources for media, including facilities for the university’s expanding video and digital initiatives for academic purposes and external relations, as well as a press box.
• A location for various hospitality functions for community and campus patrons.
• Enhancements to the fan experience, including premium seating options.
“Inspired by the university’s campus master plan, we will study the possibility of accomplishing multiple objectives — namely, preserve the campus’ pedestrian character by taking advantage of a central location for needed facilities, retain the integrity of a legendary stadium, improve the visual attractiveness of the exterior stadium wall, and enhance the game-day experience for our football fans,” Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the university’s president, said after presenting an outline of the initiative to members of the Board of Trustees at its spring meeting.
In the image provided by the university, some of the discernible differences in the future Notre Dame Stadium include:
• A shamrock logo in the center of the field (the end zones still have the diagonal stripes).
• There is an extension connecting Notre Dame Stadium to the Joyce Center across the street on the east side, making the two edifices and prime athletic venues one.
• Extensions and additions to the southwest and southeast sides (the side opposite “Touchdown Jesus”) of Notre Dame Stadium, in addition to more additions to the west side, where the current press box is located.
• With “premium seating options” in the plans, the image rendering makes it appear that the press box will be moved to the opposite side from its current location, while the current box might provide the premium seating.
• On the north side of the stadium, there used to be a scoreboard in the center. That has been removed, and added on that side is two smaller scoreboards near each corner.
• The south side of the stadium is a little more nebulous, although the facade on that side now extends well above the stands. While nothing has been mentioned about a Jumbotron getting built there, the potential for such an addition in that location would seem doable if the administration approves it.
• Outside the stadium on the southwest corner is the image of a large water fountain to add to the overall aesthetics.
These are just a few of the possible changes. The current study for this expansion will include representatives from the offices of the Provost, Student Affairs, Executive Vice President, University Relations and Architect, Notre Dame athletics and other departments, as well as outside consultants.
Despite the dramatic overhaul, the school's press release noted that “under all circumstances, however, the university will keep the original stadium intact.”
Notre Dame Stadium opened in 1930 and was refurbished and expanded from 59,075 seats to the current 80,795 capacity of today.