Traditionalists will despise and scoff at the notion, while younger generations will be drawn in by the shiny new bells and whistles accompanying the proposed facelift to one of college football's most sacred relics.
Per a press release from Notre Dame, the university is exploring the possibility of upgrading Notre Dame Stadium.
Before those same traditionalists enter a state of catatonic shock, it needs to be noted that this proposed expansion would not include any changes to the current playing field. Should the expansion gain approval, a slew of additions would be built onto the existing structure, which are as follows:
- Space for classrooms, conferences speakers, meetings, receptions and other events.
- A student center for assembly and activity areas.
- Resources for media, including facilities for the University's expanding video and digital initiatives for academic purposes and external relations, as well as a press box.
- A location for various hospitality functions for community and campus patrons.
- Enhancements to the fan experience, including premium seating options.
In a true university-wide approach, this expansion would directly benefit all students, faculty and athletes on campus.
It's a refreshing tactic on the part of Notre Dame, as a slew of schools around the country—particularly those with powerhouse football programs—pour funds into additions to their stadiums that are made solely for the sake of increased football-related profits.
Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C, Notre Dame's president, stated the objectives of these preliminary plans.
Inspired by the University's campus master plan, we will study the possibility of accomplishing multiple objectives - namely, preserve the campus' pedestrian character by taking advantage of a central location for needed facilities, retain the integrity of a legendary stadium, improve the visual attractiveness of the exterior stadium wall, and enhance the game-day experience for our football fans.
There's no question that the stadium could use some sprucing up; the concrete outer bowl is aesthetically displeasing and only elicits the attention of fans far and wide due to its storied legacy.
But in the age of instant gratification, that legacy isn't sufficient to impress visiting fans, recruits and the like.
The stadium deserves to be a spectacle on campus that causes the vast amounts of passersby to stop and soak in the beauty of the structure. For those who are unaware of the stadium's gleaming legacy, the 83-year-old structure is just another facility of the many located throughout the South Bend, Ind., campus.
While the physical beauty will be addressed, the 11,733 total students—football players included—should be the main focus of these proposed changes. Should students not be the the ultimate focus of a university?
A central location on campus, Notre Dame Stadium would be a hub for students should the proposed classrooms and meeting rooms be installed within.
In a harmonious fashion, the university has managed to please all interested parties with the proposed expansion.
The legacy of the "house that Rockne built" will always be an integral piece of the Irish's football program and won't be tarnished with these proposed additions, as noted by Jenkins. It's a unique, healthy blend of the program's illustrious past and the lively, exciting trajectory of its future.