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Construction project to impact facilities for student-athletes

| Thursday, January 30, 2014

With the approval of a new construction project around Notre Dame Stadium, the Irish basketball teams will have a practice facility in the process.

“The Rolfs Sports Recreation Center will become the practice home for the men’s and women’s varsity basketball teams,” a release from the University said.

The Notre Dame Board of Trustees approved a $400 million construction project that would add three buildings to the Stadium and 3,000 to 4,000 premium club seats to the 80,795 capacity.

The plans for the “Campus Crossroads Project” also include adding a student center, which will include a student recreation center, on the west side of Notre Dame Stadium.

In a December interview with The Observer, Notre Dame Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick said if a student recreation center were added to Notre Dame Stadium, Rolfs Sports Recreation Center could be used as a basketball practice facility.

“As the idea of ‘Does it make sense to move recreation into the CCPD’ came along, then the question was raised ‘Well, if you do that, what do you do with Rolfs?’ That’s how we got there,” Swarbrick said in December.

University President Fr. John Jenkins, in an interview with The Observer, said that was still the plan.

However, Jenkins said the construction surrounding the Stadium was contingent on raising the necessary funds.

Jumbotron and FieldTurf?

While the rest of the Stadium could be getting a facelift, Jenkins said no decisions have been made regarding the potential additions of a Jumbotron or FieldTurf.

“I think we are always talking about the fan experience, and if [a Jumbotron] enhanced it, then that would be part of it, but I want to make it clear that I’m not saying it will be part of this,” Jenkins said.

Initial and more recent renderings of the project depict Notre Dame Stadium without any visible video boards. A new scoreboard, however, will be added on the south side of the Stadium.

“Some of that will be addressed through enhanced broadband connectivity and some by the introduction of video, though the shape that will take has not yet been finalized,” the release said. “However, to the extent the University provides video, whether in the concourse or in the stadium itself similar to the philosophy in Purcell Pavilion and the Compton Family Ice Arena, there will be no commercial signage or advertising.”

Jenkins said Notre Dame has not decided what playing surface will be in the Stadium next season, either.

“We’re not ready to announce that either,” he said. “That’s something to think about, I know Jack is thinking about it. At this stage, haven’t made a decision.”

Swarbrick said a decision on the surface would be made in January or February. The costs of re-sodding Notre Dame Stadium and installing artificial turf were roughly the same, Swarbrick said.

New improvements

 The University will add 3,000 to 4,000 premium seats Jenkins described as club level outside seating to Notre Dame Stadium’s 80,795 current capacity. The club seating will be located on both the east and west sides of the Stadium, according to the University release.

The addition on new premium seating would not affect the basic seating configuration for both the current and upper bowls. The gold seats on both sides of the field will remain the same.

Few changes would be made to Notre Dame’s locker room but some of the surrounding areas will be improved to better serve the football team on game day.

Notre Dame plans to upgrade both WiFi and cellular service as part of this project.

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About Matthew DeFranks

Matthew DeFranks is an Assistant Managing Editor and a senior Finance major and Journalism, Ethics and Democracy minor from Miami. He loves a solid 2-3 zone, Sperry's, fantasy football drafts, How I Met Your Mother, Cuban food, free parking, beaches, good hip-hop and airports. He hates wearing white socks, the Florida Gators, pickles, Shakespeare, Keeping Up With the Kardashians, the Patriots, death metal, Ed Hardy shirts and airports.

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