According to a recent story from the South Bend Tribune, Notre Dame will demolish Corby Hall in June and replace it with a new building of a similar design.
Corby Hall is one of the oldest buildings on campus, originally opened in 1893 according to University Facilities, and is the home of Congregation of the Holy Cross priests on campus and still houses priests today.
The decision to replace the building was a joint decision between the congregation and the university after deciding that it wasn’t feasible to renovate the existing building. Just last year Notre Dame announced it received a $50 million gift from Mary and Jay Flaherty, $20 million worth of which was intended “for the reconstruction and ongoing maintenance of Corby Hall.”
Sitting just west of Sacred Heart Basilica, Corby is one of the few buildings made of Notre Dame brick left on campus. The yellow brick, made from marl drudged from the bottom of the lakes, can be seen on the Main Building, the Basilica, LaFortune, and several other buildings constructed in the 19th century. The bricks salvaged from Corby will be used to repair other buildings on campus that use it. Badin Hall is one of the buildings made from Notre Dame brick that is currently scheduled for renovation.
Corby Hall is a beautiful building, so to hear that it is being demolished is pretty upsetting news to me. It is hard to see how $20 million wouldn’t be enough to sufficiently renovate the building, but if it truly is not feasible at least the new building will mimic the design to some degree.
The most upsetting part of this to me is that Notre Dame loses another historic building that is built of the iconic Notre Dame brick. A lot of new construction at Notre Dame has tried to mimic the yellow brick, to varying degrees of success, so to see it be demolished is upsetting. The brick will at least be reused but it is still a piece of history lost.
Corby Hall also has on the front of it a porch that is common in a lot of the earlier buildings on campus like the Main Building and Sorin Hall, but hasn’t been used with the same regularity in newer construction.
If the building truly can’t be feasibly renovated than the university is doing the right thing in salvaging the brick and replacing it with a building that matches Corby Hall in terms of size and design, but that doesn’t make it any less upsetting that a university that prides itself on history and tradition is losing a piece of that next month.