Residential Life Master Plan Update

Author: Rev. Gerry Olinger, C.S.C.

Dear Undergraduate Students,

As you know, residential life continues to be one of the most distinctive components of a Notre Dame undergraduate education, with the hall communities creating the basis for many of your spiritual, social, service, and athletic experiences.

While the most important aspect of our residence hall communities continues to be the people who reside within them, the buildings themselves remain integral to supporting our students’ ability to experience personal growth and form valuable connections among one another. 

Investing in On-Campus Housing

In 2017, the University announced a six-semester residency requirement for undergraduate students that also underscored the University’s commitment to improving the availability of on-campus housing options for transfer students. Several new halls were constructed to relieve overcrowding while others reopened to residents after year-long transformations that included both physical improvements as well as the creation of more common space for residents to gather and interact. 

As we enter the next phase of the Residential Life Master Plan and continue making our residential buildings the best they can be for the communities they serve, I write today to announce the University’s newest plans for investing in and supporting the halls our students call home.

Plans for Fisher and Pangborn Halls

Beginning in the 2024-2025 academic year, Fisher and Pangborn Halls will be permanently decommissioned and replaced with two newly constructed halls. As a result of this construction and the completion of the new men’s residence hall on East Quad, the University will further strengthen its investment in residential life at Notre Dame, accommodate the residency requirement, and permanently guarantee housing to all transfer students.

Unlike older halls that were designed to withstand major renovations while still remaining largely intact, Fisher and Pangborn Halls do not lend themselves to the same types of restoration. As such, constructing entirely new halls is necessary in order to allow us to both meet the housing needs of our students and provide sufficient spaces for study and social activities. Such determinations are not made lightly and only after extensive research is completed to consider options for renovating and retaining existing structures.

Next Steps for the Fisher and Pangborn Communities

In terms of next steps, in August 2024, the Pangborn community will relocate to the new men’s residence hall currently under construction on East Quad between Johnson Family Hall and McCourtney Hall. The Fisher community will relocate to Zahm Hall, which has served as a swing hall facility, where residents will remain for the 2024-2025 and 2025-2026 academic years. In the fall of 2026, Fisher residents will move to the new men's hall located on the former Fisher Hall site. When the new hall located on the former Pangborn Hall site opens at the same time, it will house a new women’s community. Plans for that hall community are forthcoming.

Members of the Residential Life Leadership Team met with current residents of the Fisher and Pangborn Hall communities earlier this evening to discuss these upcoming changes in addition to available housing options. As they prepare for this transition, please rest assured that hall staff, in collaboration with the current community of students living in both halls, will decide how to best honor each hall’s legacy, including what traditions to uphold and the placement of hall memorabilia.

Many thanks to all of you, and especially to the current residents of Fisher and Pangborn, for your ongoing commitment to supporting and caring for one another. We hope these new facilities will enhance your ability to build welcoming and enduring communities for many years to come.

In Notre Dame,

Fr. Gerry Olinger, C.S.C.
Vice President for Student Affairs