Micah Rose | Sports Editor
"We are going to have a great product - an enhanced facility that our students, friends and fans and the entire university community will be very proud of and will enjoy,” Vice President for Administration and Finance, Greg DuBois, said back in April.
In late April Old Dominion University announced plans to rebuild and expand the football stadium we have known and loved since ODU’s football team was founded in 2009. From the days of playing at the FBS level to currently being Conference USA ODU’s football team has gained recognition for our success so early in our program and moving up in conferences. It has allowed us to play at a more competitive level against more competitive schools.
While some have rejoiced over plans for the new home of our monarchs, others feel ODU has a responsibility to improve more pressing issues within our institution. So what exactly can we expect from a $65 million budget on a new stadium? ODU has slowly but surely been teasing us on all of the exciting new details for our new stadium.
"Fan comfort and high-quality amenities are the primary focus of this phase. The project will help us create the type of game-day experience fans want and will set us up for future expansions,” said DuBois. The reconstruction of S.B. Ballard Stadium is already in phase one which aims to address many of the recommendations fans have expressed in the past.
The east and west stands will be demolished and replaced with amenities that are more comfortable for fans (so now maybe our seats will be bearable for backs), updating and expanding more than 45 food and merchandise points of sale, and renovations to improve the flow of fans in and around the facility.
Each phase will take place during the offseason to ensure there is not any interferences with the 2018 football season. Construction for this project will end during the summer and will be nice and new for our 2019 season opener.
The first football game ever played at home for the monarchs was at Foreman Field at S. B. Ballard Stadium where they went on to defeat Chowan University 36–21 in 2009. Since then, our stadium has won 43 home games and has hosted the Oyster Bowl, a feature matchup of high school and NCAA Division teams, which is annually played in the Hampton Roads community.
Never fear to all the heritage loving ODU fans out there however, ODU plans to memorialize the history of Foreman Field by paying tribute to its original design by incorporating similar brick patterns, iconic arches and a visual installation of the old stadium with descriptions of its place in the university’s history.
Soon after news of the $65 million project broke, many students and fans took to twitter to express their opinions on this new project. While ODU’s sports teams have been growing, particularly football and basketball, our institution as a whole has issues that need to eventually be addressed, like on campus housing and offering support to other smaller organizations.
What many people fail to realize however is this project does not acquire any sort of state funds or raise in student fees. All funding is coming from athletic revenue, private funding and bond proceeds and will not affect any sort of funding for other organizations. Perhaps with time and more funding our campus will give some of our more pressing issues more contemplation in future projects. As for now, sit back and enjoy Foreman Field for one last season.