Minium: ODU Football Fans Invited to Check Out The New S.B. Ballard Stadium Saturday Morning From 9 until 11

April 22, 2019
By ODU Athletics
ODU Athletics

By Harry Minium

The view of the $67.5 million renovation of S.B. Ballard Stadium from the second floor of the South End Zone suites is spectacular.

There are four huge cranes hoisting steel, aluminum, and precast cement. And you can’t begin to imagine how much bigger the stadium will be until you’ve seen it from this perspective.

It’s going to be a beautiful facility with modern amenities and will be intimidating for visiting teams because the stands, all 40 rows, will be right on top of the playing field.

For the first time, Old Dominion will truly play in a Football Bowl Subdivision stadium.

To your left is the new West Side, which is 95 feet tall, 45 feet taller than the old Foreman Field, and will be topped off by a new press box.

To your right is the new East Side, which is further along in construction.

And that view will finally be open to the public on Saturday from 9 am. until 11 a.m. when ODU holds an open house for fans to check out the stadium after five months of construction. Fans can view the on-going construction from the South End Zone complex

View of the new West Side stands at S.B. Ballard Stadium

Fans are asked to park in the Red Garage on 49th Street on levels 2 through 5 and walk into the Atlantic Bay Gameday Building from the second floor.

S.B. Ballard Construction began the renovation in late November by tearing down the 82-year-old East and West sides. They have since pounded 675 pilings into the ground, poured 23 million gallons of cement to form the foundation and since installed most of the 670 pieces of pre-cast cement that will form the stadium itself.

The Old Dominion Athletic Association (ODAF), the University’s athletic fundraising organization, held three town hall meetings for fans to ask questions about season tickets and the new seat memberships. All three drew large numbers of fans.

But officials determined that wasn’t enough, that they need to give fans who could not attend one of the town halls a chance to see the new stadium and have their questions answered.

“Anytime you open a new stadium, it’s going to cause a lot of questions,” said Jason Chandler, associate athletic director for revenue and strategic marketing. We fielded a lot of specific questions at the town halls. If we can provide information that helps fans understand the new stadium and seating options, we want to do that.

“The town hall meetings were held during the week and people who were working weren’t able to be there. We decided to give all of our fans a chance to come and see our new stadium.”

View of S.B. Ballard Stadium on a new, ODAF interactive website that will allow fans to see tickets prices of every seat

If you can’t make it Saturday, no big deal. ODAF recently launched an interactive set of computer generated renderings of the stadium that allow you to hover your cursor over the stadium, see the vantage point from each section of the stadium and see the price of seats, including the seat memberships.

Hit the + sign at the bottom, and you’ll get four different perspectives.

Link to interactive map of S.B. Ballard Stadium

Chandler and Jena Virga, a senior associate athletic director who heads ODAF, will be there to answer questions. Fans can come and go as they please during the two hours. There is no presentation planned.

“It’s a chance for our fans to check out the new stadium, and we’ll be there to answer any questions people have,” Virga said. “And there will be questions.”

One thing that some fans haven’t been clear on is this is the first and last time that seats will be allocated at the new stadium. It’s also the last time that donations will factor into where fans sit.

Seats will be allocated based on points earned by how much fans have donated to ODAF, how many years they been donating and other factors.

Seat membership fees range from $50 to $250 and some seats are available without memberships. End zone seats are available for just $99.

ODAF was forced to go to seat memberships because of a change in the federal tax law. Without the change, donations to the athletic program would not be tax deductible.

There are 2,000 more seats on the sideline than before, but more than half will taken up by students, who will have a majority of their seats moved from the end zone to the sidelines.

May 1 is the deadline for seats purchases and annual donations that will increase priority points for seat selection. Anyone who purchases a $200 seat by the deadline will receive a seat selection time to come to campus and select their new seats with the help of ODAF representatives. The seat selection process will begin on May 29 and is expected to continue for two to three weeks.

Virga said that because this is the last time seats will be allocated at the new stadium, many fans are keeping their donations at the same level as last season, and that many more have increased their giving.

“That’s pretty exciting that we're not going go through re-seating again,” Virga said.

“And I think most of our fans realize that this is the year they should donate so that can get the best seats possible.”

Virga said ODU followers won’t really begin to figure out the stadium until the Monarchs play their first game on Aug. 31 against cross-town rival Norfolk State.

“With any new facility like that, it takes a game or two to get your bearings, to figure out the best way to your seats and where the concessions areas and restrooms are,” she said.

“Our fans are going to be very pleased. This is such a major upgrade from what we had at Foreman Field.”

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