Campus construction creates a multiplier effect for local vendors and residents

Author: William G. Gilroy

Student carrying boxes.

Student Carrying Boxes

The largest construction effort in the University of Notre Dame’s history is currently underway. Nine new buildings will house innovative spaces for discovery and learning and serve as a vivid illustration of the University’s commitment to academic excellence and unsurpassed student experience.

The Campus Crossroads Project will maximize the potential of Notre Dame Stadium through the addition of three buildings totaling more than 750,000 square feet of teaching, research and performance spaces. McCourtney Hall, the first building in a planned East Campus Research Complex, creates space for highly collaborative, state-of-the-art research that crosses the Colleges of Science and Engineering. The conjoined Jenkins and Nanovic Halls will be home to the new Keough School of Global Affairs, the Nanovic Institute for European Studies and the departments of economics, political science and sociology. Opened in August, Dunne and Flaherty residence halls provide housing for 221 men and 226 women, respectively. The 60,000-square-foot Walsh Family Hall of Architecture will be the new home of the School of Architecture.

The construction boom is providing a significant boost to local and regional suppliers and in the process enhancing the quality of life in the region. In fiscal year 2015, Notre Dame purchased $168.5 million from local suppliers in St. Joseph County.

“Consultation and customer service demands in certain categories like print, furniture or audio-video equipment, makes the decision on local purchasing easier,” Vaibhav Agarwal, Notre Dame’s director of procurement services, said. “As the University continues to grow in many areas, local buying will remain a focus to support its diverse needs."

The numbers, impressive as they are, don’t accurately reflect the impact of the University’s procurement activity on the surrounding region. Notre Dame’s spending frequently translates to new hires, a healthy economy and improved quality of life. When suppliers and contractors purchase additional goods and services from local businesses to meet Notre Dame’s needs, they create a cascading stimulus or a “multiplier effect.”

Express Press supplies the University’s business cards and stationery. The company also offers offset and digital printing services to campus clients. “Notre Dame’s economic impact to St. Joseph County and northern Indiana is huge,” Mark Schaeffer, vice president of Express Press, said. “We have the privilege of serving many different departments at Notre Dame directly, which we greatly appreciate. Many of our other clients also serve the Notre Dame community, so we indirectly benefit from their work at Notre Dame.”

Vista AV Integration of Granger is one of the University’s preferred suppliers for audio-visual products and services. Jim Hevel, Vista AV manager, pointed out that his firm profits when classroom equipment reaches the end of its life cycle as well as when new equipment is necessary for new buildings such as Jenkins and Nanovic Halls.

AAY’S Rental is the University’s primary banquet and event rental provider. “The University of Notre Dame is certainly one of, if not the largest, economic engines driving AAY's Rental and the surrounding area,” Mike Sharpe, AAY’s president, said.

These types of business relationships are expected to only grow stronger, as Notre Dame anticipates spending $935 million over the next five years in construction on campus.