Notre Dame to construct new indoor facility

by Dennis Brown

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

The University of Notre Dame will begin construction soon on a new facility that will expand the indoor space for three varsity athletics programs, which will, in turn, provide greater access to the Loftus Sports Center for other varsity programs, recreational and club sports, campus events and community activities.

The 111,400-square-foot Irish Indoor Athletics Center has been underwritten by gifts from a number of benefactors. It is scheduled for completion in July 2019.

To be constructed on the site of what is now the western-most field of the Notre Dame football team’s LaBar Practice Complex, the new building will serve as an indoor practice facility for the football and men’s and women’s soccer programs. It may also play host to campus-wide and community events, sports camps, recreational and club sports, pep rallies, game-day hospitality and other programming.

Notre Dame’s only large multi-purpose indoor facility is the Loftus Sports Center, which serves as a practice and/or competition facility for many of the University’s 26 varsity athletics programs, recreational and club sports, the marching band and other activities.

Because of the heavy demand, many activities in Loftus currently are scheduled late at night and in the early morning hours. During the winter months, it is used at least 18 hours a day.

Jack Swarbrick, vice president and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics at Notre Dame, noted that new NCAA policies require colleges and universities to provide practice times for student-athletes that are conducive to a productive academic plan and healthy overall lifestyle.

“Much as we have done with our approach to the Compton Family Ice Arena and the recent additions surrounding the football stadium, our focus when developing athletic facilities is to create uses that extend beyond varsity athletics,” he said. “In this instance, in addition to creating what we believe will be the best indoor football practice facility in the country, we are creating additional recreational, club sport and community opportunities, while also ensuring that the students on our other varsity teams are practicing at times that allow for a more typical student experience.”

More time and better hours in Loftus also will benefit members of the general student body, according to Erin Hoffmann Harding, vice president for student affairs.

“Allowing increased, consistent access to the Loftus Sports Complex,” she said, “will better serve students who compete passionately and successfully in dozens of clubs sports and intramural leagues, and perform in the renowned Band of the Fighting Irish.”

Dedicated in April 1988, the Loftus Sports Complex includes a six-lane track one-fifth of a mile long, a 100-yard artificial turf field, an adjoining strength and conditioning facility, batting cages and spectator seating.