Duncan Student Center: A space for students to create, perform, gather, exercise, and unwind

Author: Sue Ryan

Duncan Student Center

Opening in January 2018, the Duncan Student Center will soon exist as a new space for students to create, perform, gather, connect, exercise and unwind. The student-centric facility will become a venue for the community atmosphere for which Notre Dame is so well known, with ample recreation and relaxation space, career center facilities, three dining locations, student organization space and space for student-oriented programs.

Located on the west side of Notre Dame Stadium, this new facility was created for students through student input. In the new center, students will be able to scale a three-story climbing wall, run on an indoor track, and cultivate their talents to prepare for diverse careers and leadership positions.

The first two floors will house flexible, state-of-the-art meeting rooms, lounges, dining areas and offices, including the Thomas and Therese Grojean Family Loft, which will provide a setting for students to come together over food, schoolwork or relaxation; the Hagerty Family Café, a dining spot in a comfortable setting conducive to studying or socializing that will feature a selection of pastry and gelato treats created by Notre Dame chefs; and the Jan and Marty Hiller Midfield Commons. Game watch will take on a whole new meaning with this spacious, stadium-style venue. Students can watch games on the theater-style screen and will enjoy easy access to the building’s three dining locations.

Also on the second floor, the student media suite will offer a media laboratory atmosphere with newsrooms and radio studios visible through clear glass as well as an open television studio. Student media operations for NDTV, The Voice of the Fighting Irish (WVFI-FM) and WSND-FM, Dome yearbook, Scholastic magazine and The Juggler will relocate in January.

The Smith Center for Recreational Sports facility on the third and fourth floors will offer triple the amount of fitness space currently available in Rolfs Sports Recreation Center. With a variety of new equipment in the new space, RecSports will broaden fitness programing. The three-story climbing wall, which will span the second, third and fourth floors, will be surrounded by a 1/6-mile suspended indoor track with an adjacent basketball court.

The fifth floor features an expanded career services center, with more than 40 interview rooms and training and conference space to benefit the undergraduate Career Center, Graduate Career Services and Mendoza Graduate Career Services.

The seventh floor holds the beautiful and flexible Dahnke Ballroom, a 500-seat facility that can be sub-divided to host smaller events.

Floors eight and nine have premium and club seating for football games as well as space for visiting coaches and athletic department officials. The Rasmus Family Club will enhance the football game day experience by offering a stunning environment for pregame festivities.

Planning for the Duncan Student Center has ensured the facility will complement the student organization space and administrative offices located in the LaFortune Student Center. Duncan will operate in conjunction with LaFortune, which will continue to house departmental, organizational and administrative offices and serve its historic role as a student center in the heart of campus.

Notre Dame alumnus Raymond T. Duncan, his wife, Sally, and their family made a gift for construction of the new building. A 1952 Notre Dame graduate, Duncan is chairman and chief executive officer of Duncan Oil Inc. in Denver, Colorado, and founded Silver Oak and Twomey Cellars in Napa Valley and Sonoma County, California. In addition, he is the founder of Purgatory Ski Resort near Durango, Colorado. He is a former member of the College of Arts and Letters Advisory Council and a retired member of the Snite Museum of Art Advisory Council. The Duncans’ support of the University also includes a gift in 2007 to build Duncan Hall, home to more than 230 male students, and the establishment of the Duncan Endowment for Excellence in American Art, which supports Snite Museum acquisitions, exhibitions, publications, education programs and research projects related to American art. The Duncans are also generous supporters of other areas of the University, including the Institute for Scholarship in Liberal Arts, Monogram Club, Department of Athletics and McCormack Scholarship.