Daniel LeDuc | October 6, 2017
Doug Marsh ’82 is the one person having the most impact on the face of Notre Dame that you may have never heard of.
This warm summer afternoon he is wearing a white safety helmet and a lime-green vest over his starched business shirt and tie, and leading me down that fabled stairway from the football locker room toward the tunnel to the stadium’s field. Anyone who went to Notre Dame knows what sign is there above Marsh’s head: Play Like A Champion Today.
“This stairway is not being touched,” Marsh says. He points up: “We didn’t even repaint this.”
Tradition dies hard on this campus, so no one was going to add even a fresh coat of golden paint to the sign that up close only barely betrays the hundreds of players’ hands that have slapped it on game day over the years.
But it’s also safe to say that venerable sign is one of the few things left untouched these days at Notre Dame. New buildings are sprouting nearly everywhere on campus. Roads have been rerouted. Underground energy piping is being buried. New sidewalks are connecting it all. For the past three years, dozens of roaring, yellow earth movers, their beeps echoing with every shift to reverse, have transformed the very topography of campus. Thousands of construction workers, some from as far away as Detroit and St. Louis, clad in those same lime green vests and eager to earn union rates, have poured concrete, wired electrical and Internet lines, installed new stadium seats and carved classrooms from cavernous spaces. In just the three new buildings around the stadium, they have laid more than 1,650,000 bricks.