The University of Notre Dame announced the first major renovation to Notre Dame Stadium since the stadium expansion that was completed in 1997 earlier today. The renovations are part of a massive building project – the largest in the 172 year history of the University.
There are a ton of details available on an excellent microsite that Notre Dame launched today including a full press release that you can read here. Here are some highlights of the project as well as my thoughts.
- The main purpose is to integrate academic, student life, and athletic purposes of the stadium.
- Three brand new buildings will be built around the current stadium – one each on the east and west side of the stadium and a third on the south side of the building. The north side of the building will feature a new building which means no further obstruction of Touchdown Jesus.
- New academic purposes of the stadium will create 80 new faculty positions.
- None athletic purposes of the stadium will include: “new research and teaching venues, several academic departments, a much-expanded student center, a digital media center and a variety of hospitality and programming spaces”
- Construction will begin within two (2) years and last 33 months to complete.
- Project cost will be $400 million
- 3,000-4,000 new seats will be created in Notre Dame Stadium in the form of premium seats in the new east and west buildings. Notre Dame said that the full capacity, however, has not yet been determined.
- Other helpful links:
Now onto some of the main questions everyone has.
Will there be jumbotrons following the renovations?
We don’t know yet. Here is what Notre Dame is saying now with regards to jumbotrons.
Our fans, especially our younger fans, have been clear in communicating their strong desire to have better access to data and video when attending our games—a view that has been reinforced by their experience in other stadia when we host our Shamrock Series games. Some of that will be addressed through enhanced broadband connectivity in the stadium and some by the introduction of video, but the shape that will take has not yet been finalized. However, to the extent we provide 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.
Soooooo you’re saying there’s a chance? No one knows yet, but in the rendering below, there is an awful lot of room to the left and right of the scoreboard that very easily could be filled in with a full video screen. It is important to note though that Notre Dame has said there will not be any advertising inside the stadium.
We are going to have to wait a little while to find out whether or not there will be video boards in the stadium though.
What about field turf?
There were not any announcements on the field surface either, but we should be finding out about that soon too.
No decision has been made at this time on the playing surface. We anticipate a decision being made in the near future.
How will gameday be impacted for Notre Dame home games during construction?
The University said that gameday will be impacted, but not drastically and the impact will be similar to that of the last renovation in the 90’s.
There may be some minor inconveniences, and the area will be a construction zone during the seasons impacted by the project, but home games will go on as scheduled at Notre Dame Stadium. The scene likely will be similar to the expansion in the 1990s when construction was ongoing on the upper bowl and new press box during the course of the 1996 football season.
Whenever you build three new buildings around your stadium there really isn’t any way around impacting the gameday experience and Notre Dame has experience with renovating the stadium and still allowing for a great gameday experience so this shouldn’t be a major concern for Notre Dame fans.
Will the sound system in the stadium be enhanced?
I haven’t read anything mentioning any enhancements to the sound system in the stadium but with the investment the University is making to improve the gameday experience in the stadium I would be surprised if this wasn’t enhanced too – especially if video boards/jumbotrons are added at some point. Perhaps we will hear more about this once a decision is made on video boards.
Will I be able to call or text anyone in the stadium once the renovations are complete? Or will my phone at least not die from searching for a signal for 3 hours?
It sounds like it. Notre Dame has said it is enhancing broadband capabilities in the stadium as part of the project as noted above in response to video boards.
Will premium seating help get some of the down in front crowd out of lower and upper bowls?
We don’t know yet. The east and west buildings will have indoor and outdoor premium seating throughout levels 7-9 which could get some of the older crowd that prefers to sit at all times and not yell during big plays into the club seating. Outdoor seating that high up though could be pretty cold when the November winds are swirling in Notre Dame Stadium though so who knows.
Why is Notre Dame adding all of the academic and student life features to the football stadium?
The main goal of the project outside of enhancing the stadium and fan experience is to give purpose to the largest building on campus more than 6 Saturdays a year. Notre Dame Stadium is very centrally focused and Notre Dame wants to make it more of a focal point on campus and what better way than utilizing it throughout the year. Turning Notre Dame Stadium into something that students get to access more than 24 times during their undergrad studies also will give students more of a connection to the largest building on campus.
What’s this all going to look like?
Here’s a video explaining the project along with renderings of what the stadium will look like once complete.