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Let’s Redesign Notre Dame Stadium: History

Notre Dame has the history to rival any football program in the country, so we’re going to embrace that!

South Bend Tribune

So here we are, week one of our redesign for Notre Dame Stadium, home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish football team. Before we get started I want to thank everybody that filled out the survey that was posted last week. In total, 420 of you responded and provided some great feedback that will be incorporated in the coming weeks. One question that came up several times that I wanted to address here first though: why do this? The answer is quite simple, why not do this? It’s the offseason and this could be a fun exercise to see what’s possible and of course it’s completely hypothetical as I have no power at Notre Dame. Now a word of warning before you keep reading, this week is going to be a little more wordy than the weeks that follow. After this we’ll get into the fun designs and pretty pictures.

As you can see from the title this week we’re looking at the history of Notre Dame Stadium and since most of you could probably teach me a thing or 100 I’m not going to bore you with a history lesson. Instead we’re going to start this week by looking at the first few questions on the survey that focused on the history of Notre Dame Stadium and how that can influence us moving forward. The good news is that most of you are extremely satisfied with what exists today, in fact 29% of you rated your satisfaction 8/10. On top of that, 79% rated your satisfaction at 7/10 or above. When asked about the importance of the history at Notre Dame Stadium your responses created a near perfect exponential growth chart, with 36.8% saying the importance of history is a full 10/10, with 25.7% at 9/10, 18.4% at 8/10 and each number decreasing in the same way.

When we move into the written responses things got a little more interesting, but even here there were some common themes. The top four written responses were:

  1. Bringing back the view of Touchdown Jesus from the field/seating. (I appreciate the one response that made sure to call it the Word of Life Mural on the Hesburgh Library but to simplify things we’re going to go with Touchdown Jesus moving forward)
  2. Maintaining the original stadium bowl.
  3. Keeping the tunnel onto the field.
  4. Going back to a natural grass field.

Luckily items 1-3 are easy to include in our design and we’ll keep them at the forefront as we move forward. There were several dissenters with regards to field material so the good news for everybody is I’m not going to touch that at all. The field surface really has no impact on design of the stadium and you can imagine the playing surface is whatever you desire it to be.

There were a few other responses that I wasn’t expecting at all, or wasn’t expecting to be as popular as they were, so I want to touch on them before we close out this first week. A few people mentioned a distinct entrance to the stadium, specifically one on the north side that faces Touchdown Jesus. A few others mentioned the stadium surroundings. Some wanted the statues to stay and others wanted everything else to go away. We’ll keep the statues at key points outside the stadium but the rest of campus is going to stay as is. Lastly a few people mentioned the original brick as well as the archways at the exterior. Notre Dame has a very distinct set of rules that any building on campus has to follow. Because I want to make this completely hypothetical exercise realistic I am going to maintain the original bowl of the stadium and anything that is added as new will follow the campus rules for materials.

Finally I wanted to share a few responses that have absolutely nothing to do with stadium design so that I can acknowledge them here and then forget they were submitted moving forward. In redesigning Notre Dame Stadium I cannot, set standards for who is eligible for the Irish Guard, make Lou Holtz the coach again, or control what is played over the speakers, especially at the beginning of the fourth quarter. I could bring back the bathroom troughs but I’m not going to.

If you’ve made it this far, thank you. You may have picked up on the topics focused on when filling out the questions last week, if you did you may already know that next week we are going to be looking at stadium seating, both the quantity and variety of it. From here on out you will start seeing some actual designs as well and it will all come together just in time for real football to return.