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NDSP, Post office move to new quarters

Kate Antonacci | Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Hammes Mowbray Hall, the 40,000-square-foot building located near Stepan Center on Holy Cross Drive, opened its doors this past week to reveal the new home of the Notre Dame Security/Police Department (NDSP) and the Notre Dame Post Office. After nearly two years of work and $10.97 million, the project is now complete and was officially dedicated in a ceremony held January 4.A great deal of preparation was done to ensure that the building was open for the spring semester.”The first week is very hectic getting settled but we worked hard on the other end so that we were very organized and deliberate in the moving process,” said Rex Rakow, director of NDSP. “We never close, so it was a tactical exercise to keep providing services and physically moving all of our belongings, equipment and personnel.”Though there were some “anxious times” with switching the department’s communications dispatch system, alarm center and CCTV, Rakow said he was impressed by the dedication of his staff throughout the transition.The new facility has many updated and unique features. The previous NDSP building, erected in 1944, was originally built as a temporary structure. After waiting 60 years for a permanent home, NDSP now has a 24-hour ATM machine, an interview room, meetings rooms for local, county and state law enforcement training and safe building entry areas through the garage so those in custody can avoid the public if necessary.”One of the most exciting features of the building is the inclusion of both an academic classroom and a seminar room. Normal student academic classes will be held here on a daily basis,” Rakow said. “We like to have students in the building when they are not in distress or taking care of security business.”The post office takes up only 5,000 square feet in the lower level of the building. That is only a 44 square foot increase from the previous post office located near Main Circle. Though the space is not much larger, the addition of new loading docks, parking areas and a new access route to Douglas Road are an improvement from the old facility.Notre Dame Postmaster Ellen Bystrom told the South Bend Tribune that she is confident about the new facility drawing business due to its location off Douglas and Juniper Roads. The Observer was unable to reach Bystrom on Tuesday.NDSP used the move as an opportunity to evaluate their work and make improvements for the future.”Any new structure allows you the luxury of examining your operational needs and systems. We have been able to more efficiently group work units to enhance communication and operational functions,” said Rakow. “Additionally, we have been able to upgrade our emergency dispatch center with equipment and facilities that will greatly help in times of emergency and major event days.”The new facility was underwritten by Jerry and Dorene Hammes of South Bend, Ind., their son; Jeffrey Hammes of Kankakee, Ill; and their nephew, Jerry Hammes Mowbray of Reno, Nev.