The Board of Trustees of the University of Notre Dame has approved a plan to begin major restorative repairs to the original bowl of Notre Dame Stadium, the 75-year-old home of Fighting Irish football.
Dedicated in 1930, the historic stadium was expanded between 1995 and 1997 from a capacity of 59,075 to its current capacity of 80,795. The additional seating was made possible by connecting 20 rows of seats from the top of the original stadium to a new brick bowl that was constructed around the older structure.
Minor repairs were made to the original portion of the stadium at the time of the expansion and in subsequent years, but a more comprehensive repair project on the lower bowl is now necessary, according to a comprehensive study of the facilitys condition. The study noted that the structural supporting frame of the stadium remains in good condition, but freeze/thaw damage over three-quarters of a century has led to deterioration of the seating bowl concrete. Stadiums of the same vintage as Notre Dames facility at theUniversityofMichiganandOhioStateandPurdueUniversitieshave faced similar maintenance issues in recent years.
Fans can rest assured that, while these repairs must be made in a timely manner, the stadium itself is quite safe,said Doug Marsh, University architect.The upcoming project is a proactive effort to ensure that this historic facility continues to serve the University for many years to come.
Phase one of a four-phase, four-year repair project will begin next spring on the east and northeast sections of the original stadium. The work will include patching or replacing sections, as necessary, and replacing the waterproof membrane that protects the seating bowl from water and future freeze/thaw damage. Repairs will continue in a counterclockwise pattern around the stadium during the off-seasons from 2007 to 2009.
The cost of the project has not been determined.
The project is not related to repairs made in recent years on the upper concourse.
Notre Dame Stadium is a legendary landmark in American athletics, home to more Heisman Trophy winners and All-Americans than any other football venue in the nation,said John Affleck-Graves, Notre Dames executive vice president.It is incumbent upon us to both preserve a building that is filled with many special memories for our athletes, students, alumni and fans, and ensure its structural integrity for decades to come. We will do that in a way that is architecturally consistent, technically thorough, and fiscally prudent.
The University will pay for part of the repairs with funds already allocated to the renewal of athletic facilities. Over the next few months, the administration will study additional options to fund the remaining balance. The study will include consultation with select faculty, students and alumni.
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