The Campus Crossroads project at Notre Dame is supposed to create a place that one might describe as the "central hub" of the University. I dare not use the word "heart" when describing it, because that word might have a much different meaning for students, alumni, and fans. If I'm being real though, Notre Dame Stadium is the focal point on campus for many reasons, not least of which is that it's the biggest building on campus.
The project isn't just about the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football program, as we all know, it also includes things like classrooms and offices inside those building they are attaching to a building. The overall theme, is to get more use out of the stadium in one way or a dozen others. Whether that be concerts, or commencement, or food fairs- or whatever... the fieldturf, and the infastructure surrounding the stadium is there to enhance events.
It also inspired wallets everywhere as the University has took in quite a bit of money to help with this project (as it goes with all projects on campus). Enter Ken Ricci, Class of 1978.
Ken Ricci and his wife Pamela have donated $5,000,000.00 to create the Ricci Family Fields.
The facility, located adjacent to Stepan Center and to be named Ricci Family Fields, will be used by the Notre Dame marching band as a rehearsal field. The fully lit, artificial turf football field, complete with a band director's tower, will enable the Band of the Fighting Irish to practice in the same location on a consistent basis throughout football season for the first time in its 170-year history. When not in use by the band, Ricci Family Fields, along with two additional lighted turf fields, will be used for more than 1,000 games and by 10,000 students participating in various RecSports activities annually.
Now, I have no way of knowing if this gift was due in part to the Campus Crossroads project, but regardless of that, it will add a lot of value to what is being done. Speaking of "done," the Ricci Family Fields project will be completed in August of 2017, so it will be finished around the same time as Campus Crossroads. While Saturdays in South Bend are certainly all about the football team, it begins and ends with the marching band.
Ken Ricci, a former member of the now 170 year old band, has called the Band of the Fighting Irish the "audio spirit of Notre Dame," and his generous gifts in the past such as the Ricci Band Rehearsal Hall are testimonials to his belief.