On January 29, 2014, shortly after the Notre Dame Fighting Irish concluded the 2013 football season, the University of Notre Dame announced the largest project in the school’s history.
The Campus Crossroads Project, the name given to the undertaking, is precisely that, a “crossroads” of academics, student life, and athletics. At the outset of the project, the projected cost was $400 million, and over three years into the massive task that number has not wavered. There are multiple facets to Campus Crossroads: the improvements to the football experience, a new student center and restaurants, new academic offices and classrooms, and more.
All portions related to the football experience will be finished before the Irish kick off against Temple on September 2. The student center and academic buildings will be completed before the start of the spring semester in 2018.
Doug Marsh, the University’s architect and vice president for facilities design and operations said of the project, “Student life, athletics and academics in one building. It’s never been done before.”
It is a massive project, and it will have a great impact on not only the Notre Dame student experience, but also the experience of players, recruits, and the average fan on game day. What will first catch a fan’s eye upon entering the stadium is the new look to the concourse. The obnoxious concrete columns have been covered in brick so as to become less of an eyesore, the bathrooms have been renovated and the off-white concrete has been painted Notre Dame blue.
The splintery wooden bleachers which had become a hallmark of the stadium experience are relocated, now used on the walls of various rooms and lounges inside the stadium. They’ve been replaced by metal bleachers, which will be both scalding hot during warm September games and bone-chilling cold during November. The band will now sit in the stands, and the flagpole in the northeast corner has been moved to the southeast corner so as to annoy USC fans as much as possible as they attempt to look around it.
In the northeast corner, where the band used to sit, there is a small tunnel for the visiting team. No longer will the two teams run out of the same tunnel. The only two entities running out of the (new look) north tunnel will be the band and the team.
In the south end zone, there’s a brand-spanking-new videoboard, which will, to my dismay, show a live feed of the game as it happens on the field. There will be no corporate sponsorships, and it will show all of the on-the-field ceremonies which take place during the breaks, such as Rhodes Scholar awards, faculty appreciation, etc. It’s big, it’s beautiful, and it’s a much-needed addition to Notre Dame Stadium. I just hope fans actually watch the game, instead of staring at the television broadcast on the big screen.
The stadium looks great. The University did an incredible job of preserving the tradition and uniqueness of the Notre Dame Football experience.