University announces parking changes, Eddy Street expansions at town hall meetings
Lucas Masin-Moyer | Tuesday, February 28, 2017
With the opening of Campus Crossroads, Jenkins Hall and Nanovic Hall scheduled for later this year, the Notre Dame campus is undergoing large-scale changes. However, the expansion of the University continues beyond even these projects.
Throughout the week of Feb. 20, executive vice president John Affleck-Graves discussed various University issues and projects at a series of town halls.
In a town hall addressing the human resources department Tuesday in McCourtney Hall, Affleck-Graves began by addressing one of the areas of greatest faculty and student concern: parking.
Affleck-Graves said that there will be three major upcoming changes to parking — a new shuttle service, a parking garage and a paved lot on the current site of O’Hara-Grace graduate-student housing.
These recommendations came from a parking committee assembled by Affleck-Graves, who said he wanted to preserve the University’s atmosphere while still expanding parking.
“The whole idea here is that we want this to be a pedestrian campus,” he said. “ At the same time, we all work here, and we want to be able to get to our buildings, and the weather isn’t always great.”
One of the central elements to expanding parking, yet maintaining a pedestrian atmosphere, is a shuttle service, he said.
“The basics of what they want from the shuttle service are no more than a 10-minute wait during peak time and no more than a 15-minute wait at other times,” Affleck-Graves said. “We’re going to put technology up so that you are at least able to see where the shuttles are. So you can sit in your office and see when you wanted to go down.”
The second major parking project the University hopes to undertake is the construction of a self-funded parking garage near Legends, Affleck-Graves said.
Finally, Affleck-Graves said a temporary lot will be built on the east side of the University.
“In the next year or so, we’re scheduled to take down O’Hara-Grace, so they asked that when we take that down, we convert it into a parking lot,” he said. “When that comes down, we will pave it, and it will become a surface parking lot, but the long-term plan for the University has that scheduled for a research building sometime in the future.”
The second major project the University is undertaking is the expansion of Eddy Street Commons from its current end at St Vincent Street to Howard Street. The project is scheduled to take 12 to 18 months. This area will include retail and apartment spaces, with one of the key innovations being a new “flex space” on the first block of expansion.
“The rents in Eddy Street are very high, so there is a way to make a lower price point for young entrepreneurs or people who want to start a business, and that’s what the flex space is,” Affleck-Graves said. “There’s a big window in the front that can be used for a store … it’s a kind of mixed apartment-business thing.”
Affleck-Graves said the second block of expansion will also include a revamped Robinson Community Learning Center, a grocery store and graduate-student housing to coincide with the demolition of the O’Hara-Grace residences.
“The next block down will be pretty much a mirror image, except the first level will be apartments, not businesses,” he said. “We’re hoping at least one of those, in the southernmost block, will be a graduate housing complex.”
Affleck-Graves also touched on plans to open up Campus Crossroads briefly to the public during Welcome Weekend 2017.
“We’re opening it up to the whole community,” Affleck-Graves said. “In a sense, it’s a dry run. The idea is, open it softly … test the video board, test the seating.”
At the Athletics town hall on Thursday, athletic director Jack Swarbrick and University President Fr. John Jenkins discussed inclusion and specific goals for the athletic department and the University as a whole.
Swarbrick spoke on Jenkins’ recently deceased mother and how she acted as a model for inclusion.
“[The Jenkins home] was the place where friends and strangers and, it seems like, half of Omaha gathered. It was in a very natural way a place of inclusion — a place where everyone was welcome,” he said. “That’s the essence of the mission of inclusion and building diversity, and I think it exists best when it exists naturally in the lessons of someone like Helen Jenkins.”
Jenkins then outlined his three major goals for the athletic department.
“The first thing is integrity,” he said. “That’s absolutely critical for everyone at the University, but because athletics is so prominent, it’s critical. What I mean by that is, compliance with NCAA regulation and other regulations, but also to act in a way that you can be proud of and Notre Dame can be proud of you.
“Second, we’re about these kids, our students … and help[ing] them grow as people — educationally, morally, spiritually — and grow into responsible adults,” he said.
Jenkins’ concluding goal for the department was to win championships. Jenkins said these three goals must all be achieved and none left out in the pursuit of excellence.
“If we do the third and not the first two, we’re not Notre Dame,” he said.
The University will hold one more town hall Tuesday at 11 a.m. in Washington Hall.