Notre Dame's New Football Facility Open For Business
Although the name "Irish Athletics Center” is as basic as it gets, the newly opened Notre Dame football facility that also will be used by the men’s and women’s soccer team provides a much needed element to the overall athletic department.
A tour of the 111,400-square foot edifice (price not revealed) was given to media members on Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 14), or two days after the Fighting Irish football team staged a pre-practice workout there for the first time.
Since 1987, Notre Dame has held its indoor practices in both the spring and fall at Meyo Field inside the Loftus Sports Center, which expanded into the Guglielmino Athletics Complex in 2005 to house all the football offices, sports medicine, etc.
However, in those last 32 years the Fighting Irish athletic department has expanded significantly, and practice time inside the facility often had to be split from the crack of dawn to the late evening hours among football, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, baseball and softball — plus intramural activities on occasion.
The new structure is primarily a football facility and is prioritized as such, but will be utilized by both soccer teams as well.
The football aspect is evidenced with 11 national title banners split on the two ends of the field, plus a 12th banner that notes the program has had 22 “undefeated regular seasons,” most recently 12-0 in 2018 and 2012.
Last year’s College Football Playoff and all the major bowls also are highlighted inside the structure in a spacious second-floor balcony section where media can have a full “television-like” view of a practice. Inside Loftus they had only an end-zone view, with the offense more than 100-yards away. Also notable are:
• Punting is now possible indoors with a 95-foot ceiling at its peak.
• It features fieldturf synthetic grass, although it still needs to be tamped down some after its recent installation.
• There is a videoboard on the east side for replays and graphics, plus video camera to record/review the action on the field.
• A 1,600-square foot recruiting lounge is on the second floor. This is also where the Brian Kelly Show will be held following Thursday practices the week of a game.
• Roll-up doors that open directly to LaBar Practice Fields outside.
The completion of the Irish Athletics Center is considered Phase I of the operation. Phase II is still down the road in terms of blueprints, and could involve a direct walkway from the Guglielmino Athletics Complex, which is less than a football field across the street, and other amenities such as kitchen/nutrition or whatever else might be needed.