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A Symbol of Rebirth
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A Symbol of Rebirth

The parking lot had been freshly paved, the sod grass had been laid, trees and bushes had just been planted, while the sun was shining in a cloudless sky high above the new residence hall. In short, it was a picture-perfect day for the opening of South Hall, Notre Dame’s most ambitious construction project in decades.

Cutting Edge: NDC and city officials celebrated the opening of<br />
 South Hall in August.The College community, neighbors and local officials gathered in front of the new apartment-style residence hall on Wednesday, Aug. 5, for a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the completion of the dormitory. The celebration marked the end of a series of construction projects during the 2008/2009 academic year that totaled more than $18 million.

Among the guests were South Euclid Mayor Georgine Welo and Mac M. Donley, CEO of Donley’s Construction, who was in charge of the project. Other guests included architects from Studio Techne who conceptualized South Hall as well as its smaller counterpart North Hall, which opened in January.

Together, the two dormitories were the first residence halls to be constructed on campus in 41 years. Notre Dame’s five residences now have the capacity to house 655 students, and thanks to record enrollment this fall every single bed is occupied.

“South Hall is a symbol of Notre Dame College’s rebirth, revitalization, its continuing prosperity, the academic quality and financial stability of the College,” said Dr. Andrew P. Roth, NDC’s 13th president.

Fueled in part by the introduction of a football and bowling program as well as a marching band, the College welcomed 440 new students for the 2009/2010 academic year. Total enrollment has reached a record 1,898 students including slightly more than 1,100 full-time undergraduates.

Under Dr. Roth’s leadership, Notre Dame’s enrollment has grown at an annual rate of 14.5 percent in the past six years. When Dr. Roth first took the helm, only 332 full-time students were enrolled at NDC.

Leadership: Since Dr. Roth took the helm at NDC, traditional  enrollment has more than tripled.“But what we do at Notre Dame is not only about numbers,” Dr. Roth said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “What we are really about is the mission of Notre Dame College, which is to provide a high-quality, values-based, private education for students who might otherwise not have access to such an education.”

M. Joan McCarthy, chair of NDC’s board of directors, called South Hall “a physical representation of the vision Dr. Roth outlined in his inaugural speech in 2003.”

“We now are one of the finest small, Catholic colleges in the Great Lakes area, as he promised. The board is proud of the accomplishments of Notre Dame College under the guidance of Dr. Roth,” McCarthy said.

Dr. Roth thanked the City of South Euclid and the surrounding community for their support of Notre Dame’s construction endeavors in recent years. In response, Mayor Welo called NDC “a change agent for the City of South Euclid.”

“A college town for all ages is my wish to this community,” Welo said. “This is an academic institution that prepares both young and old. It’s an economic engine for both the city […] and the small businesses that are popping up around town. For me, Notre Dame College is our future in South Euclid.”

Constructing a Future

Two hundred eight of Notre Dame’s upper class students will build their futures at NDC while living in the state-of-the-art South Hall. The 57,000 square feet, four-story building features two fitness centers, a community lounge, a game room and laundry rooms on every floor.

Heavy Weight: On 57,000 square feet South Hall feautres<br />
fitness centers, lounges and game rooms.A total of 104 rooms are set up as two bedroom apartments with only four students sharing the entire suite. Each apartment has a kitchenette with a microwave and refrigerator, a furnished living room and a bathroom. Each bedroom features two sets of beds, dressers, desks, chairs and wardrobe closets. All rooms in the apartment have central air as well as phone, cable and Internet hook-ups.

“Seeing what’s around the country in Division I schools, the facility that we have here rivals and equals to residence halls of any Division I school,” said Mac M. Donley, whose company specializes in higher education facilities.

The exteriors of South Hall and North Hall, which houses 84 students, were designed to match those of the other three residence halls. They feature the same Gothic style with similar brick colors and sandstone trim around the windows.

With the construction of the L-shaped South Hall, the College completed a residence quad similar to the one envisioned in 1926 by Thomas D. McLaughlin, the original campus architect. The inside of that quad has become a recreational hub for the students. It features volleyball and beach volleyball fields, bocce ball courts and a patio dining area.

In order to accommodate the growing number of campus residents, the administration constructed 215 additional parking spots in front of South Hall. Commuters still having difficulties finding a parking spot on campus can relax from their early-morning parking hunt in the expanded Falcon Café.Falcons' Nest: NDC has added two new athletic fields.

Located on the first floor of the Clara Fritzsche Library, the Starbucks café was renovated in January. The Falcon Café’s western wall was knocked down and bookshelves on the lower library floor moved upstairs to double its size. The café now stretches up to the library’s Book-A-Year Club Gallery and includes a “spirit shop" where members and friends of the College can purchase Notre Dame merchandise. The café’s serving area was enlarged and moved away from the entrance to create additional seating. Televisions and background music create a comfortable coffee lounge atmosphere.

Student athletes also benefitted from recent construction, as two practice fields were added on the lawn in front of the Administration Building. In addition, the football team moved into the basement of North and Harks Halls, where the coaches’ offices, a new locker room and showers are located. Finally, the Administration Building also saw a recent facelift as new administrative suites were created in the east wing where the Advancement Office was previously located.

Christian Taske ’07 is the editor and writer at Notre Dame College.