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CSC, ICL to receive new building

Kaitlynn Riely | Monday, February 26, 2007

Construction is set to begin on a new building for the Institute of Church Life (ICL) and the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) in the spring of 2008, University officials announced Friday. The move will create new space that ICL director John Cavadini said is “very badly needed.”

The planned $14 million building – to be called Geddes Hall – will be located in the same area as the current CSC building, according to Friday’s press release.

In addition to uniting the ICL and the CSC, which is part of the ICL, under one roof, Cavadini said the move will greatly expand the space available to both organizations.

The Institute is currently located on the 12th floor of the Hesburgh Library, and with the small amount of space available there, many staff members do not have offices, Cavadini said. Cavadini himself does not have room for an office in the Institute.

CSC Executive Director Father Bill Lies said in an e-mail the CSC has faced similar space constraints.

“We have doubled and tripled up offices, we’re using an old storage closet as a two-person office and we even have one staff member using as her office an old six by eight foot projection room,” he said. “It will be great to have these space constraints resolved.”

Cavadini and Lies worked with Mike Daly, senior project manager in the Office of the University Architect, to design the new 64,000 square foot building. The blueprints include room for more offices, classrooms and meeting spaces, Cavadini said.

He said the new building will offer “basically, more room to run the programs that we now run more effectively.”

The building – funded with donations primarily from Michael and Sheila Geddes and Thomas and Mary Cabot – will include a chapel named after the Cabot family, a coffee house and an auditorium for classes and other events, Lies said.

This new building will also be made Environmentally sound in order to embody the Catholic social tradition that encourages responsibility for creation, he said.

“As concern and conversation about the sustainability of our world intensify, it is our hope that this new building will make use of the latest technologies in sustainable, green building practices,” Lies said.

Besides giving the ICL and the CSC more room to work, the new building should provide better resources to strengthen the programs they offer, Cavadini said.

Lies said the popularity of some of the CSC’s programs forces them to turn away as many as five people for each student that applies for seminars or courses. The increased space capacity means the Center can expand some of its initiatives and introduce new ones, he said.

Future plans for the CSC include increasing the capacity of the Catholic Social Tradition minor, possibly starting a new minor in Poverty Studies and establishing learning and research opportunities for students studying abroad.

Maintaining and expanding these programs is vital to the University’s mission, Lies said.

“Reaching out to people on the margins, immersing ourselves in the study of Catholic social tradition, understanding the issues and contemplating justice are more than just nice things to do,” Lies said. “They’re really what we have to do if we want to be true to our University mission.”

In the press release, University President Father John Jenkins said the CSC and the ICL are important for furthering Notre Dame’s mission.

“The Institute for Church Life and the Center for Social Concerns are important components in Notre Dame’s Catholic mission to better serve students, society and the Church,” he said.

Construction of the new building is expected to be completed by the fall of 2009. Lies said he thought the CSC might be transferred to the former security building behind the Rockne Memorial while the building is under construction. But Lies also said he has not been part of any formal discussions about these details yet.

University President Emeritus Father Theodore Hesburgh established the ICL in 1976. It was originally called the Institute for Pastoral and Social Ministry, but the name was changed in 1992, said the press release.

The CSC was founded in 1983. The Cabot family, whose youngest son graduated from Notre Dame in 1990, is the primary sponsor of the CSC’s International Summer Service initiative on the ICL Advisory Council.

Michael Geddes graduated from Notre Dame and is a member of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees. He serves as a Trustee liaison on the ICL Advisory Council.