The Old Dominion University Board of Visitors approved a plan on Thursday to rebuild Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.
ODU says the new plans will enhance the football experience for fans without increasing student fees.
“This decision, based on solid research and the preferences of the Monarch community, positions the university for the future within a bold yet sensible framework,” said John R. Broderick, the president of Old Dominion. “I’m excited that we will enhance the Foreman Field experience for fans without putting additional financial pressure on our students.”
A survey was conducted by CSL International of alumni, students, faculty/staff, donors and community members, plus Populous examined the viability of constructing a new stadium or reconstructing Foreman Field.
Populous and Moseley Architects briefed Board members on their findings.
While Foreman Field as served the needs of sold-out crowds of more than 20,000 fans since it was built 1936, data from the more than 5,000 responses and 1,300 comments show there are requirements that are not being met.
Fans expressed their want for more comfortable seats and an expansion of food options, restrooms, and other amenities. They also supported keeping the field at its existing location.
Phase I of the new field will be a $55 million renovation project that addresses those needs that fans find more important — which includes rebuilding the entire East and West bowls to remove all bleachers and add 15,500 new chair-back seats and 176 new loge seats-increasing capacity to 22,130-with convenient access to new food concession stands and restrooms. Both the new East and West sideline seating will include 26 rows of new chair-back seats with increased tread and knee widths between them. The total plan, after future renovation phases, includes the ability to increase the stadium’s seating capacity to more than 30,000.
An enhanced press box will also be built. The North and South end zones will remain intact.
“Our first priority with the renovation of our current stadium was to enhance and solidify our fan experience in the short term, while preparing for future stadium expansion and market demand in the long term,” said Director of Athletics Wood Selig. “The fact that every single one of our sideline seats will be chair-back with ample leg room, with enhanced site lines and elevation, will considerably improve our fans’ in-stadium experience. We will be the only Conference-USA stadium and among only a few college football stadiums to have all chair-back seating.”
Improvements made during Phase I will provide the opportunity for the stadium capacity to later be increased to more than 30,000 with the enclosure of the North end zone and the potential for upper decks. President Broderick said the next step will be to seek non-general appropriation for the first phase in the upcoming state budget cycle.
Bobby Wilder, the coach of Old Dominion’s football team, said, “I want to thank the university administration and Board of Visitors for their continuing strong support of our football program. We look forward to playing in one of the premier university stadiums in the country, in front of sellout crowds.”