Being close to the University of Notre Dame has its perks.
A new study shows that the school now provides a $1 billion plus boost to the local economy each year.
Despite uncertain economic times in general, Notre Dame’s economic impact on the surrounding community managed to grow by 33-percent over the past five years to a total of $1,167,300,000.
The study shows that the grass just keeps getting greener at Notre Dame Stadium. Each home football game now provides an $18 million shot in the arm to the local economy.
“I’m not the least bit surprised, especially on a weekend like this, it’s going to be very evident,” said Rob DeCleene with the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
While the local business community has long been able to count on the football team to come through each fall, the Compton Ice Arena is starting to heat things up in winter.
“Well, Compton Family Ice Arena has been a game changer for us, winter obviously is a little tougher draw to bring people to South Bend but with a facility like Compton what we’ve been able to do is tap into the youth hockey tournament market. For example, last year we played host to eight youth hockey tournaments that bring in about 40-teams per tournament on the weekends the facility was available—that it wasn’t playing host to Notre Dame Hockey games. This year we’ve already got 11 (youth tournaments) on the books,” said DeCleene. “And I can’t say how significant that is for the months of December, January, and February when we really need the business.”
Meantime, the construction business that the university has provided has been much appreciated by the local building trades. Notre Dame has spent—on average--$95 million per year—for the past five years. “As far as construction, yes, oh for the better part of five or six years, things have been very difficult and there’s been more than one project (at Notre Dame) the ice arena, the Morris Inn project, we’ve had a great number of construction workers on,” said Michael Compton, Business Agent for IBEW Local 153.
The study further states that the university plans to spend another $500 million on campus construction over the next five years.
“And along with the work on campus it has generated work around campus, Eddy Commons, if it wasn’t for Notre Dame we wouldn’t be looking at Eddy (Street) Commons across the street,” said Don Fozo, Executive Director of MACIAF.
The study goes on to document a 92 percent increase in Notre Dame’s spending on research and a 14 percent increase in the workforce over the past five years.
Although the numbers tend to ignore some of the sentimental value of having an economic connection to the campus.
Mark Navarre was brought on to help build Eck Stadium in 1992 and he’s been working here ever since—most recently for a firm contracted to do electrical maintenance.
“I still cry when I go to the Grotto and take my kids there. We take bike rides on campus, we’re able to go through and have a 21 year old daughter and a ten year old daughter and they can still say, well, ‘dad did this and dad did this,’ so it’s pretty neat that way,” said Navarre, a Foreman with Koontz-Wagner.
The study also gages student spending. Undergraduates who live off-campus spend an estimated $13,000 per year. Undergraduates who live on-campus spend just under $2,000 per year.