A report that will recommend how Old Dominion's campus should grow over the next 15 years - including how to expand Foreman Field - will be released in August, two months later than expected.
When ODU hired the firm of Perkins+Will last fall to help officials revamp the master plan, officials had expected to make results public by June 1. However, David F. Harnage, the school's chief operating officer, said some of the issues ODU officials ran into were more difficult to solve than they anticipated.
The plan is expected to chart ODU's future expansion and will include recommendations for how to reorganize the campus, including evaluations of parking, where to build student housing and how to group academic programs together.
"When you start examining the campus and identifying all of the issues that are there and then start trying to find alternative solutions that eventually meld into a well-functioning campus, sometimes those issues become complicated and you have to spend a lot of time really working on what that solution is," Harnage said.
"In this case, trying to organize the campus so that functionally things have a relationship with each other is what we've had to spend most of the time on."
Harnage previously led efforts to redo the master plans at Towson, Longwood and James Madison universities.
Harnage said "we're nearing the end" of completing the plan, but weeks of work remain. The plan will then be vetted privately with the school's Board of Visitors, the academic community and Norfolk officials, he said.
Until university officials have signed off on recommendations, the plan won't be released to the public or the news media, Harnage said.
Although Foreman Field is only a part of the plan, how to expand the stadium is likely to be the study's most high-profile subject.
ODU has sold out all 29 games played at the 76-year-old, 20,068-seat stadium and is preparing to move into Conference USA. The move will mean ODU begins playing in the Football Bowl Subdivision, the NCAA's highest classification, in 2014. Most other ODU sports teams will join Conference USA on July 1.
The stadium is sold out for the 2013 season, with the exception of student tickets and 1,000 set aside for visiting teams, even though ticket prices increased at every level.
The contract with Perkins+Will indicated that Foreman Field likely would be expanded to 33,000 or 35,000 seats.
Harnage would not say what the consultant will recommend.
ODU officials had said the school must also eventually expand the L.R. Hill Sports Complex, where the football team trains, in order to compete with other FBS programs.
"The master plan addresses all of the space needs of the campus that we know about," Harnage said.
Separately, Harnage also is studying how to comply with Conference USA regulations that will require upgrades to the visitor's locker rooms and press box at Foreman Field, at least on a temporary basis. For example,
ODU must provide an instant-replay booth in the press box.
"We're going to try to do it in a way that we can meet the requirements" without spending an excessive amount of money on facilities that could be demolished when the stadium is renovated, Harnage said.
"We should know how we're going to deal with that in the early fall," he said.
Harry Minium, 757-446-2371, firstname.lastname@example.org