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Paving the Way for Voyage of Discovery
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Paving the Way for Voyage of Discovery

The sound of construction progress reverberates throughout the Notre Dame campus. On a snowy Friday evening in January, the College held a community open house to show off the brand new North Hall residence. Students, faculty, staff, neighbors and South Euclid officials dropped in to take a tour of the apartment-style suites as craftsmen rushed to put on the finishing touches. It was truly a photo-finish, but for those who braved the snow the trip was worth the visit.

South HallStudents conducted tours and Normandy Catering supplied dessert at the open house. Meanwhile Notre Dame’s maintenance magicians made a heroic effort to deliver furnishings around the tradesmen, who labored through the night to put the suites into shape for students to move in the next day.

There were several challenges to overcome while erecting North Hall, said Glen Griffith, project superintendent for Donley’s Construction. “It was such a small site that scheduling was much tougher than usual. We had to be very precise,” Griffith said. In addition, Donley’s had to worry about the safety of students living in the nearby residence halls and keep the campus presentable to visitors.

Griffith’s team also had to relocate and add utility lines, which threatened to delay construction by almost a month. “The amount of time we had to finish the project caused a lot of pressure,” Griffith said. “But we have a pretty good team here.” Working closely with Director of Maintenance Tom Meeks and his staff, Donley’s managed to finish construction on time.

North Hall opened its doors in January to 84 students.North Hall was the first residence hall to be built since 1969, when Petersen Hall (known then as Alumnae Hall) opened. It has the capacity to house 84 students. In addition, parking was added east of Providence Hall to help accommodate the College’s growth.

Construction on South Hall, slated to open its doors to 204 students in August 2009, is also progressing quickly. The roof is in place and workers are busy framing out the interior. The residents of South Hall will also experience the advantage of apartment-style housing. Site Engineer Andy Wielicki is confident the residence hall will be in move-in condition when students arrive in early August. Brian Emerson, associate dean of student affairs, and Ron Wiafe, residence life director, are busy filling up the rooms. They are offering tours of the diamond-in-the-rough suites to prospective South Hall residents. Of course, hard hats are required attire.

Travel west on campus and you will find an expanded Falcon Café with a section devoted to the new Spirit Shop, where you will be able to purchase Notre Dame College merchandise of all kinds. The café’s grand opening was celebrated on St. Patrick’s Day with 25¢ coffee, hot chocolate, free raffles of Notre Dame merchandise and live shamrocks, while Riverdance was playing on television. Café manager Mary Brigid even played music from a new Irish recording she had just brought back from the Emerald Isle.

The expanded Falcon Cafe houses a Starbucks.The Administration Building is changing, too. A new administrative suite has been created in the east wing where the advancement office was previously located. Vice President for Finance and Administration John Phillips and Vice President for Enrollment and Legal Counsel David Armstrong have moved their offices to the area. Dean of Online Educational Services Dr. Rob Davis and fundraising advisor Nick Nardi have also moved there. The new suite also boasts a much-needed conference room. It adjoins the office of Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Mary Breckenridge, with Anne Buffa and Georgia Young greeting you when you stop in.

There are additional staff relocations that accompany the office upgrades. Human Resources Director of Personnel Susan Anderson and Human Resources Coordinator Susan Grand are now in the former marketing office in the east wing, while Director of Alumni Relations Mary Elizabeth Cotleur has moved to Phillips’ former office. Associate Dean of Student Affairs Brian Emerson is now in the former human resources space.

With these construction projects, the College is paving the way for its “Voyage of Discovery” and building the framework to become one of the finest, small Catholic colleges in the Great Lakes region.

Mary Ann Kovach ‘06 is the director of public relations at Notre Dame College.