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Notre Dame stadium expansion a huge, rare opportunity for local construction crews

By Ted Land
Published On: Jan 29 2014 08:45:46 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 30 2014 08:24:03 AM CST

Notre Dame is about to inject a huge chunk of money into the local economy to expand its football stadium and add new buildings. As WSBT's Ted Land explains, the project is expected to create hundreds of much-needed jobs.

A University of Notre Dame project to expand the stadium and add new buildings is expected to create hundreds of much-needed construction jobs.

“$400 million is a very significant project for us,” said Mike Compton, IBEW local 153 business manager, “those come along once every, if we're lucky, every 10 years or so.”

The university says it'll be the largest construction project in its 172 year history, and local labor unions, which are still recovering from the recession, cannot wait to get started.

“It’s been very slow, historically slow,” said Compton.

They haven't seen a project this size since the Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center in Mishawaka was completed in 2009 at a cost of roughly $350 million.

Unions including the IBEW electrical workers in South Bend say the local contractors they work for have enjoyed a very good working relationship with Notre Dame for decades, and that there's no reason to believe they won't get a big chunk of the planned stadium work.

“At its peak we anticipate having more than 300 workers a day on the project once things get up and rolling,” said Dennis Brown, spokesman for Notre Dame.

He said the university may even have to hire some workers from outside St. Joseph County, simply because there might not be a big enough labor force there.

Notre Dame says it'll be a year or two before they're ready to break ground, and then from there it could be another three years before the project is finished.

“That’ll be very nice, keep an awful lot of people busy for quite a long time,” said Compton.