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Logan construction set to begin

Andrew Thagard | Tuesday, April 27, 2004

The Logan Center, a resource facility for people with disabilities located across from Notre Dame on Eddy Street, announced plans for a groundbreaking ceremony for its new building on Monday. The ceremony, scheduled for May 27, will mark the beginning of construction on the new building that is set to open in July 2005. The Logan Center opened at its current location in the 1960s as a school for people with disabilities. Over the years, the center’s mission became oriented more toward adults as special education programs were introduced into public schools for children. The new facility will better accommodate the center’s programs and clients but is located farther from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s and the students who volunteer from there. The new building will be constructed on a portion of the 7.5 acres on Jefferson Boulevard that was formerly occupied by the Saint Mary’s Hospital building. While it contains less square footage than the current building, it will boast state-of-the-art handicap accessibility and “Café Logan Center,” an area that will house a library with internet access, meeting space and food service. The new building will also have room for a center devoted to autism.”This [current] building was built as a school many years ago,” said Ann Lagomarcino, head of marketing for the center. “There will be space designed [specifically] for our curriculum.”The center sold its current building and the land it occupies to Notre Dame. The University’s Campus Plan introduced in 2002 calls for realigning Edison Road and constructing a college town development on this land. While Notre Dame’s interest in the property was a benefit for the center, it was not the deciding factor in the organization’s decision to move, according to Lagomarcino.”We knew we needed a new facility and we always knew Notre Dame was keenly interested,” she said. “We knew when it came time [to expand] they would be the first buyer we would approach. The timing worked out well, but it [the University’s interest in expanding] didn’t impact our decision.” The new building will be funded by a $6.2 million capital campaign drive that will also cover move-in costs and furniture and equipment for the facility. So far, the center has raised $3.7 million, pledged mostly from foundations and grants. In its second phase of fundraising, the center plans to appeal to individual donors.”We’re just now getting into the public phase,” Lagomarcino said. “A lot of it at this point has been from larger donors.”Although the new facility means new opportunities for the center, its further location from Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s may introduce complications in coordinating volunteers from the two campuses. Currently organizations like Notre Dame Circle K send volunteers to help with a variety of the center’s activities like bowling, dances and a Saturday recreation day.”We are going to have to be a little more creative on the transportation but I don’t think it will be an intense barrier. There are ways to work around it,” Lagomarcino said. “I’ve been here for 16 years and there are a lot more students who have cars now than there used to be.”Overall, the potential positives of the move far outweigh the negatives, Lagomarcino said.”It’s really a nice site, right on the bus line – very convenient,” she said. “We will have the option to expand the facility as its need change.”