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CSC building construction continues

Meg Mirshak | Thursday, September 4, 2008

Construction on a new building for the Center for Social Concerns (CSC) and the Institute for Church Life continued throughout the summer, progressing toward an August 2009 completion date.

Geddes Hall, the new building west of Hesburgh Library, will occupy 65,583 square feet when finished, said Associate Vice President and University Architect Doug Marsh in an e-mail to The Observer.

The former CSC building, which was demolished when construction began in January on the new building at the same site, occupied about 8,400 square feet, Marsh said.

The building’s structural steel frame is complete and masonry work is underway, he said.

“Looking at the drawing is exciting,” said Paul Horn, the director of communications for the CSC. “But to actually see it come to life is better.”

While the new building is being constructed, the CSC has temporarily relocated to the old Security Building behind the Rockne Memorial.

CSC staff operations were not adversely affected by the move to a temporary location, Horn said, but students do not visit the building as often.

“CSC is a vibrant core and meeting place for students,” Horn said. “Being located in the heart of campus was great, and that will return with the new building.”

Horn said the now-demolished building was so overcrowded that some staff members were working out of closets.

The staff for the Institute for Church Life remained in their main offices on the 12th floor of Hesburgh Library when construction began on the new CSC building.

John Cavadini, director of the Institute for Church Life and chair of the theology department, said the program had a severe shortage of offices. Divisions of the program, like ND Vision, operate from separate locations.

“The new facility will give us the office space so we can operate more efficiently and as a unit,” Cavadini said.

The Geddes Hall design features an auditorium, chapel and common space for student gatherings and discussions, a project costing $15,094,000, Marsh said.

The hall has additional space for future expansion of the Center for Social Concerns and Institute for Church Life programs, he said. Similar programs could also be housed in Geddes Hall.

In addition to being larger than the old building, the hall’s design maximizes the building space and avoids lost green space.

“[The University planners] consider our landscaped open space on campus quite sacred,” he said.

With a basement and a top floor located inside the roof line, the five-story building design appears only three stories tall.

Three large sycamore trees on the south side of the work site were preserved, Marsh said.

Geddes Hall was registered with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system, a certification of the U.S. Green Building Council.

The council does not verify LEED certification until construction is completed, Marsh said. Other current construction projects that are LEED registered include the new women’s residence hall near the Hammes Bookstore and Stinson-Remick Hall, a new engineering building.

As construction continues throughout the academic year, Marsh said all attempts will be made to minimize inconveniences to students.

A sidewalk temporarily closed during the spring semester between the Geddes Hall work site and the Hesburgh Library has reopened. The construction fence, however, should remain in place until late next spring.

Geddes Hall is funded by gifts totaling $14 million primarily from Michael and Sheila Geddes and Thomas and Mary Cabot, according to a February 2007 University press release.

A member of Notre Dame’s Board of Trustees, Geddes serves as a Trustee liaison on Notre Dame’ Institute for Church Life Advisory Council. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University, and serves as the chairman and president of Geddes and Company of Phoenix, a private investment and consulting firm.

The building’s chapel will be named for the Cabot family of Naples, Fla., the primary sponsors of the CSC’s international summer service initiative.