From volleyball to hockey, and soccer to basketball, some of the top programs in the country are going to shine this weekend at Notre Dame. For many fans, it will be their first time inside the new Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center.
The new facility is named for Phil Purcell, a Notre Dame graduate, trustee, and current chair of the athletic affairs committee, a position he's held for a number of years. He is also the retired chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley.
Back in October 2007, Philip J. Purcell III made a large contribution to the University of Notre Dame of $12.5 million dollars. It was the largest gift towards the renovation project, which is why the facility bears his name.
A month later, in November 2007, another major gift of $5 million from Notre Dame graduate Vincent J. Naimoli was announced; then, a third big gift was given by South Bend car dealership owner Mike Leep Sr.
Crews broke ground on the $35 million dollar project in September 2008, but they officially began construction the day after graduation in May and finished up just a few weeks ago.
There's new seating, ceilings, lighting and re-designed flooring. Officials say they’re finishing up fundraising to put up a scoreboard, which is the only thing missing. They say the venue won’t only be used for sports, but also commencement, masses, concerts and other events.
Craig Tiller, the senior project manager architect at Notre Dame, says the renovations offer a significant upgrade for fans.
"We had 20 weeks to work with and in that 20 weeks we put in place about $10 million worth of construction, so about a half-a-million a week," Tiller said. "I would say at the high point, we had about 170 people [construction workers] in here."
Tiller says there are about 800 new light fixtures that were put into place.
From start to finish, just click on the video link above to watch the incredible transformation of the Joyce Center arena into the new Purcell Pavilion. The video is courtesy of Notre Dame photographer Matt Cashore.
The very first event in Purcell Pavilion was the women's volleyball "Dig Pink" match in October for breast cancer. This weekend, the Irish men and women's basketball teams play their first official games in their new home. To get the full schedules for all of Notre Dame's athletic teams, click here.