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Dr. Saturday

Notre Dame looking into possibly adding to its iconic stadium

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

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Institutions that are entrusted with some of the oldest and most famous venues in sports face a problem.

When stadiums like Wrigley Field, Fenway Park and Lambeau Field were built, luxury suites and corporate areas weren't a consideration. So teams wrestle with the problem of renovating to add revenue generators like luxury suites without losing the history or charm of the stadium. The Packers did fairly well with the Lambeau Field expansion over the years, as did the Red Sox with Fenway. The Cubs seem intent on screwing up modernizing Wrigley Field, which makes sense since it's the Cubs.

Notre Dame is exploring ideas to add to its famous stadium, and in the announcement of the plans its easy to see some of the conflicts the school is wrestling with.

Notre Dame's plan, which is still very preliminary, seems to be centered around building around the stadium rather than change the inside of the stadium. The Associated Press story said the first step is to explore the possibility of adding "more than 3,000 seats in new buildings that would rise up over the sides of the stadium." This will have to be done in a way that doesn't cheapen Notre Dame Stadium, built in 1930, mind you.

In the conceptual sketch there are also two scoreboards or video boards on the west side of the stadium, but athletic director Jack Swarbrick told the AP no decision has been made on video boards. And the scoreboards would be off to the side as to not block the view of "Touchdown Jesus" in the background. Again, all renovations have to be done with history and tradition in mind. The backlash will be tremendous if Notre Dame Stadium's look changes too much.

[Also: Mack Brown hands out rings for 9-4 Alamo Bowl season at Texas]

The main goal of Notre Dame, aside from adding the 3,000 revenue-producing seats, is to turn the stadium into a central area for the students and community. Right now the stadium is used less than 10 times a year. Notre Dame is hoping to make the stadium a more central part of the school itself.

"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," Rev. John I. Jenkins, the university's president, said in a statement.

There's one part that many fans will be more interested in than anything else: retain the integrity of a legendary stadium.

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