A small hydroelectric facility is to be built on the St. Joseph River in South Bend, Indiana, US, to generate electricity for the University of Notre Dame.

The university reached an agreement with the South Bend Board of Parks this week for a 50 year lease that gives it the right to construct and operate the facility. The agreement transfers a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission exemption from the city to Notre Dame. The city originally reciebed the exemption in 1984 but has been unable to act upon it due to financial constraints.

In conjunction with the lease, the park’s board also approved a separate agreement in which Notre Dame will pay the city $1 million for restoration of Seitz Park, which is adjacent to the dam, as well as for ongoing maintenance of the dam through the duration of the lease.

“This is the latest of several recent and mutually productive partnerships between Notre Dame and the city,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “We appreciate the park board working with us as we continue implementing our broader sustainability plan.”

Construction of the hydro facility, which will be primarily underground, will commence in October 2017, with full operation expected to begin in early 2019. The University will run transmission lines from the dam to campus to generate about 7% of its electrical needs.