Building Timeline


1883    Science Hall constructed on campus.  The facility was designed by Rev. John Zahm, C.S.C. and Willoughby J. Edbrooke.  The first floor (now the Main Lounge) housed a museum of geological artifacts, while the second floor (now the Ballroom) was used as a laboratory for aeronautical experiments.  

1924    In response to a need for more classroom space, an addition was built onto the east side of the building. The expansion provided seven laboratories and seventeen classrooms, while also enclosing the courtyard of the original horseshoe shaped building.

1952    Nieuwland Science Hall (named for professors Rev. Julius Nieuwland, C.S.C. PhD) constructed to the east, and the Physics Department moved from Science Hall to Nieuwland. The geological museum moved from the first floor of Science Hall to other buildings on campus.

1953    Science Hall converted into Notre Dame’s first student center thanks to a generous gift from Joseph & Gertrude LaFortune.  The student center was formally dedicated on Saturday, November 21, the weekend of the Sophomore Cotillion.  The 1924 addition remained dedicated to the College of Science and was not originally included as part of the student center.

1954    After the opening of the new student center, a glass atrium ceilinh was added to the courtyard and the space was named Caron Court in recognition of financial support received from Mr. & Mrs. O.J. Caron.

1956    East and west balconies added to the second floor level of Caron Court.

1957    Remaining science labs and classrooms in the building replaced with student organization offices and social space.   



1973-77    LaFortune Student Center underwent a series of renovations to expand food service areas, renovate social spaces and update the basement lounge.   Air conditioning was added to the building.

1983    The Fieldhouse, located east of the student center, was razed after an eighty-five year history on campus.

1986    Fieldhouse Mall patio area was created in the area northeast of LaFortune Student Center as part of the construction of the Clarke Memorial Fountain.  The cornerstone of the original Fieldhouse remains in place to this day.

1986    The family of Joseph & Gertrude LaFortune provided funding for a significant renovation to the student center.  A three story addition was built onto the east side of the building to provide student organization office space and meeting rooms.  An elevator was installed as part of the renovation, and a stairwell was added in Caron Court to provide convenient access to the basement.

1991    Washington Hall Annex razed.  The multi-purpose building was once home to The Huddle, and it also housed a tailor shop.  After The Huddle was established in LaFortune, the building became known as the Band Building.

1995    Wall of Fame established in the first floor hallway to honor Notre Dame students who have contributed to the quality of community life.

1999    Intercultural Center established on the second floor.  The Center’s mission is to celebrate the unique heritage that every individual brings to the Notre Dame community and to highlight campus-wide efforts regarding cross-cultural understanding.

2003    The building marked its 50th anniversary as LaFortune Student Center.

2008    125 years after its construction, LaFortune Student Center remains Notre Dame’s 12th oldest campus building still in use.