The Village of Notre Dame

Author: Ed Cohen

Master plan for the future of campus

Alumni motoring to campus along Angela Boulevard for a football game this fall may wonder who moved the football stadium.

It isn’t the stadium that’s moved, it’s Angela. The boulevard, which changes its name to Edison Road east of Notre Dame Avenue, used to bend northward toward campus before intersecting with Juniper Road in front of the parking lots for the Joyce Center and Notre Dame Stadium. Now it runs in a straight line past the campus, starting at the palatial new Notre Dame Avenue entrance, but farther south. At certain points along the route, woods stand between the new roadway and campus. And then there’s the enormous new Marie P. DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts, anchoring the south end of the DeBartolo Quad. As a result, if you’re driving in from the west, you can hardly even glimpse the stadium now until you’re past it. The rerouting of Angela/Edison and upgrade of the ceremonial entrance to campus are only part of a flurry of construction, destruction and relocation that’s been taking place on campus the past few years. Almost all of it has been guided by an elaborate campus master plan adopted in 2002. Among other things, the plan:

—Stakes out locations for more than a dozen new buildings or major additions to existing facilities. One of the new ones, a combination police station and post office near Stepan Center, opened in January but looks as though it’s stood there for decades because of its old-fashion collegiate gothic design.

—Designates 19 buildings for preservation in perpetuity. These include such traditional landmarks as the Main Building and Sacred Heart Basilica but also the Student Health Center and four dorms: Alumni, Dillon, Lyons and Sorin.

—Throws a lasso around a section of the existing campus to mark off a development boundary, a footprint outside of which Notre Dame has decided it will not build.

It’s this last measure, the development boundary, that University Architect Doug Marsh calls the “real genius” of the campus plan. The boundary is designed to prevent sprawl—new development at the outer reaches of campus. As was demonstrated in U.S. cities during the growth of suburbia, when new development is concentrated on the outer edges of an area, people tend to abandon the core (downtown, in the case of cities), and it decays. The new plan, which Marsh says is intended to guide development for the next 10 to 15 years, does the opposite. It aims to preserve Notre Dame’s historic core and keep the campus walker-friendly. Because administrators have identified needs for many new facilities, that’s going to require “infilling” the footprint. An example is the new Jordan Hall of Science, expected to be completed a year from now along Juniper Road just north of the Joyce Center. Except Juniper Road won’t be Juniper Road a year from now. It’s going to be closed to traffic and eventually torn out altogether. Removing the road (a new road that merges with Ivy Road will carry traffic around the campus to the east) will speed commutes and improve the safety of pedestrians headed to the Hall of Science, the Rolfs Sports Recreation Center and everything else east of Juniper. The plan also calls for the eventual construction of two dorms in the Juniper roadway. They’ll be near the present Pasquerilla East and Knott residence halls. A third new residence hall will be built next to McGlinn Hall, near the original campus golf course. The new dorms aren’t for accommodating any major increase in enrollment but rather to relieve crowding in the existing halls, Marsh says. Ripping out Juniper also will make it possible to knit together the parking lots of the Joyce Center and football stadium. And the lots will be spruced up with trees. According to James Lyphout, vice president of business operations, the campus will gain about 250 acres from the removal of Juniper and the straightening out of Angela/Edison. The current campus covers about 1,200 acres, he said. Infilling doesn’t mean clogging up the South Quad and other open spaces with new buildings. In fact, the campus of the future looks greener than ever. For example, the concrete expanse behind the South Dining Hall and South Quad dorms is going to be turned into athletic fields and a greensward. And at the southern end of campus, a large public park-like Town Common is planned as a buffer between the performing arts center and South Bend’s Northeast Neighborhood. Natural vacancies for buildings exist in several places within the development boundary, especially on the DeBartolo Quad. There the plans call for three new buildings—for business, engineering and social sciences—plus additions to the Law School and possibly McKenna Hall, the Center for Continuing Education. Lyphout says fund raising is furthest along for the engineering building and law school addition (see “Gift advances law school expansion,” page 5), but ground isn’t expected to be broken for either project for another two to three years. A policy adopted by University trustees four years ago requires that before any building can get started, 100 percent of the money must be pledged, with 75 percent in hand and the other 25 percent due within five years. Other space is expected to become available as aging and less-beloved buildings fall to the wrecking ball. An example is the former Security Building on the west end of campus. Currently serving as the temporary home of University Health Services while the old infirmary behind the Main Building is renovated, the building dates to World War II and was supposed to be temporary. The campus plan calls for a large inn and conference center to be constructed on the site, which overlooks Saint Mary’s Lake. But with the fund-raising threshold yet to be reached, nothing is imminent. Marsh says the campus plan was designed to be flexible. In fact, it already has been altered in a significant way. A building not anticipated by the plan—a center for research in biomedical engineering—is being constructed next to the Hessert Center for Aerospace Research Center, near the north end of campus. Federal money is being used to build it. “The plan will evolve,” says Marsh of unexpected opportunities like the biomedical center. “The tenets are permanent.” He’s referring to seven principles agreed upon by University officers and trustees to guide future campus development. Among other directives, the tenets call for preserving the Grotto and other sacred spaces and creating new ones to reinforce the Catholic identity of the University, and for maintaining the pastoral, wooded look of campus. Also, buildings will be designed in collegiate gothic and similar historic styles that have become the norm again at Notre Dame since construction of the Eck Visitors’ Center and bookstore in the 1990s. “I can’t tell you how many times people have told me thank you for bringing it back,” Marsh says. In 2001, 12 fifth-year architecture students spent a semester studying the new campus master plan. Then they developed what they felt was a better alternative. Learn more about their plan.

Ed Cohen is an associate editor of this magazine.