Old Dominion Adds New Scoreboard, Three Ribbon Boards and a New Sound System to S.B.Ballard Stadium
By ODU Athletics
By Harry Minium
The reconstructed S.B. Ballard Stadium already promised Old Dominion University football fans larger and more comfortable seats and modern restrooms and concessions stands.
But the stadium experience will be even better after Old Dominion officials recently announced they will add five more amenities sure to be a big hit - two 300-feet ribbon scoreboards on the east and west sides, a 125-foot ribbon scoreboard on the south end zone suites, a new digital, state of the art video board and an upgraded, modern sound system.
The Administration and Finance Committee of ODU's Board of Visitors recently saw updated renderings of the stadium during a presentation by Acting Director of Design and Construction David Robichaud. The ribbon scoreboards were the most obvious changes made from original renderings done more than a year ago.
Two ribbon scoreboards will be able to be seen by every fan in the stadium.
Greg DuBois, ODU's Vice President for Administration and Finance, said the video board will be located at the same place, near the north end zone, as the current scoreboard.
The new scoreboard will be a little larger than the old one, which is ten years old, but will be far more sophisticated and in essence, far bigger than the old one. It will be much like the scoreboard at the Ted Constant Center, where the score of the game disappears during instant replays and the entire scoreboard displays video.
Daktronics has been contracted to install the new boards.
"We're making good progress on the construction and look forward to sharing with the entire university community, alumni and fans the newly renovated home of the Monarchs," DuBois said. "With enhanced seating comfort and high-quality amenities, the stadium will offer fans the game-day experience they want."
Robichaud said the stadium will be ready when ODU meets Norfolk State on Aug. 31. "We're going to deliver it on time and on budget and without sacrificing quality," he said.
The stadium replaces the 82-year Foreman Field that offered a sense of history, but little in the way of creature comforts.
The committee was shown renderings of the east side entrance, which has a Norfolk city seal. Just inside the entrance is a display dedicated to the history of Foreman Field.
A new sounds system can't be seen on the renderings, but will be in place for the first system. It was often difficult to understand public address announcer Jack Ankerson on Foreman Field's antiquated sound system. His voice will be much clearer this season.
The reconstructed S.B. Ballard Stadium will be much taller and more imposing than the old stadium. The west side press box is 95 feet tall, 42 feet taller than the old west side.
Many fans in the upper decks will be treated to a view of downtown Norfolk to the south and Norfolk International Terminals to the north.
The stands are slanted more upward, putting fans right on top of the playing field. The stands are also angled inward at each end. That will give people on the 10-yard-line a much better view than they had last season.
There will be 15,923 new seats on the east and west sides, and all will have back support, including 6,170 chair-back seats. The restrooms will have 232 toilets, nearly double the number at Foreman Field. Season tickets can be purchased for as little as $99 and new sideline seats start at $200, the same as last season. More than 1,700 of the sideline seats will require no seat membership.
"Our fans are among the best fans in the country," athletic director Wood Selig said.
"It is gratifying to know that we have considerably enhanced every fan's experience in S. B. Ballard Stadium whether it is more leg room, considerably more and varied concession offerings, better sight lines, and back support for every sideline spectator."
"ODU fans have patiently waited for these amenities and I feel certain one of the results we will all notice immediately will be an even better game day atmosphere inside S.B. Ballard stadium. That should aid our team by giving us an even greater home field advantage."
DuBois gave a thumbs up when asked about the wow factor of the ribbon scoreboards.
"I can't wait for the stadium to open," he said.
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