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New complex to house ND post office

Elizabeth Cheffers | Wednesday, September 1, 2004

While students may agree that the new security building/post office complex being built on Holy Cross Drive has already vindicated its existence by hiding Stepan Center, the postal workers and security officers who work there welcome its opening for more basic reasons.

The existing security building was built as a temporary structure in 1944, and Notre Dame Security/Police officers on campus have waited 60 years for a permanent home. The new building will include more room for offices, training space for the South Bend police and even some classrooms.

“It will be great to have students come in here when they are not having problems,” said Rex Rakow, NDSP director. Other than adding classroom space, the move should have no effect on student services or response time as officers usually respond from patrols on campus and not from the security building, he said.

The new building has 40,000 square feet, only 5,000 of which will be used by the post office, which will occupy half of the lower floor on the side of the building that faces the nearby power plant.

The post office will gain only 44 square feet in the move, but workers remain enthusiastic about the new facility.

“We are especially excited about adding three new enclosed loading docks,” said Ellen Bystrom, the Notre Dame postmistress.

The post office’s current location, although sufficient to handle mail distribution, is also difficult to access with a vehicle and has only 10 parking spaces that it shares with McKenna Hall, half of which provide handicap-only parking.

The new office will solve both of these problems by opening Saint Joseph’s Road to Douglas Road as an access route and adding 13 “customers only” parking spaces.

While both officers and postal workers said they are thankful for the space they will gain in the move, expansion of both facilities was not the primary reason the University decided to give priority to the construction, Bystrom said. The University plans to build new buildings where the security building and the post office are now located.

“It was definitely the University’s decision to move,” Bystrom said.

Rakow mentioned University plans to build a hotel where the security building now sits. The new hotel would eventually replace The Morris Inn.

Bystrom said the new building is expected to be finished by Dec. 20 and will be fully operational by the beginning of the 2005 spring semester.