Notre Dame dedicates new hydro facility along St. Joseph River

NOW: Notre Dame dedicates new hydro facility along St. Joseph River

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- The University of Notre Dame dedicates a new hydroelectric facility along the St. Joseph River during a ceremony on Monday in downtown South Bend.

Located along the riverbed beneath Seitz Park, the 2.5-megawatt facility started generating power for Notre Dame's campus in May with it running at 70 percent.

Work began on the project back in 2019, but was delayed due to the pandemic and other planning and logistical problems.

The facility will be a source of clean, renewable energy and will generate about 7 percent of the electricity for the campus and offset 9,700 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

"I think what's unique about this is the fact that we've built this project and then put a park back on top of it and essentially but for a very small foot print of the area, full utilization of the area back to the city for the community to use as a recreational area."Said Assistant Vice President of utilities and maintenance, Paul Kempf

As part of the project, Seitz Park will be revitalized with a view of the dam along with an additional entrance, new performance area, improvements to the East Race bridge and more. The park is expected to reopen next summer.

“It’s a challenging project. It’s a complex site with a complex set of considerations,” said Aaron Perri, executive director of Venues Parks and Arts for the city of South Bend. “But anytime we get to partner with the University of Notre Dame on a project, we know it’s going to be done right; Notre Dame doesn’t cut corners. So in that respect, it’s been a wonderful partnership, one that serves to benefit both the city and Notre Dame for generations to come.”

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