Gift to Fund Notre Dame Rec Center

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(rendering courtesy University of Notre Dame) (rendering courtesy University of Notre Dame)

A University of Notre Dame graduate and his wife have made a $15 million gift to the university. The donation from Tripp and Sheila Smith will go toward a recreation center inside the new Duncan Student Center on the South Bend campus.

The 80,000-square-foot facility, which will be called the Smith Center for Recreational Sports, will be located on the third and fourth levels of the student center on the west side of Notre Dame Stadium. When complete, the recreation center will include a variety of amenities, such as:

  • A full-size basketball court with bleachers
  • A cardio and free-weight area
  • An open area with modular exercise space
  • Three studios for yoga, dance, martial arts and group fitness instruction
  • Office space for RecSports staff and personal trainers
  • A student lounge
  • A spin studio
  • Men’s and women’s locker rooms
  • A three-lane, 260-meter indoor track (one-sixth of a mile).
  • A boxing area with two boxing rings and a track system for quickly setting up and storing heavy bags and speed bags.
  • More than 1,500 square feet of open space for stretching and individual exercise

The third and fourth levels include will also include the top two sections of a four-story rock climbing wall. The university did not give an estimated time frame for the recreation center's opening.

"At Notre Dame we have always – as an integral part of our holistic approach to education – encouraged the cultivation of habits aimed at fostering good health and wellness," said Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins. "This wonderful gift from Tripp and Sheila will provide our students, as well as faculty and staff, with a magnificent new facility where they can engage in many different forms of exercise and recreation."

Tripp Smith graduated from Notre Dame in 1987 and is the co-founder of New York-based GSO Capital Partners and a senior managing director of The Blackstone Group. He and his wife have four children, two of which are also Notre Dame alumni and another who is currently a sophomore at the university.

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