The center was underwritten by a $33 million gift from Edward J. DeBartolo Sr.
By JULIE A. WAGNER
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A performing arts center at the University of Notre Dame built in memory of a local woman will open in September.
The Marie P. DeBartolo Center for the Performing Arts is a 150,000-square-foot building that contains five performance venues. Designed as a teaching area and a site for performances by nationally known entertainers, the center is built on seven separate foundations to provide acoustic isolation for its various theaters and halls.
Edward J. DeBartolo Sr., who was a 1932 graduate of Notre Dame, made a $33 million gift in 1989 that helped underwrite the arts center in honor of his wife, who died in 1987. Construction began in September 2001 and was completed this past June. The center will house the university's Department of Film, Television and Theatre and will be open for classes beginning in the fall semester. There will be an open house Sept. 17 for students, faculty and staff, and a community open house Sept. 19, school officials said. Jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis will perform at the public event.
A private dedication is set for late September for the DeBartolos and other benefactors, officials said. Students will perform for the event.
The center, with an estimated construction cost of $63 million, houses a 350-seat theater for teaching and performance, a 900-seat concert hall, a 200-seat cinema and a 100-seat organ and choral hall. Television host Regis Philbin contributed $2.75 million for a 100-seat studio theater designed for experimental or "black box" theater.
Denise DeBartolo York said that she thinks her mother would be embarrassed by the attention.
"She was very quiet and liked to stay in the background," York said, adding, however, that her mother also would be very proud because she loved Notre Dame.
The family has many connections to the university and the South Bend area, York said. Besides Edward DeBartolo Sr., Edward DeBartolo Jr., York's husband, Dr. John York, and the Yorks' son, Jed York, are Notre Dame alumni. Denise York graduated from St. Mary's College, which is in South Bend and associated with the university.
Denise York said she has received regular updates on the building process and was last at the site three months ago. She said she plans to attend the building's dedication.
"I'm looking forward to seeing it," she said.
graduate of Ursuline College, Marie DeBartolo was a teacher at the former Hillman Street School and Grant School in Youngstown. She gave time and money to Millcreek Child Care Center, St. Vincent de Paul Society and St. Jude's Research Center in Memphis, Tenn. She was an artist, and she collected and restored rare antique pieces. She was a member of St. Charles Church, Boardman and a benefactor of the Ursuline Sisters.
Performances scheduled for the center in the upcoming year include The Chieftains, the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, Eileen Ivers, and the Emerson String Quartet.
DeBartolo's gift in 1989 also helped to underwrite the Edward J. DeBartolo building, constructed in 1992. It contains 84 classrooms and was built with state-of-the-art technology. The donation also helped fund the quadrangle that both buildings border.
The DeBartolo family has also contributed generously to Youngstown State University, including building a hall on campus bearing the DeBartolo name.