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Report on ODU expansion is delayed a few months

NORFOLK

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, harry.minium@pilotonline.com

Posted to: Business College Football Education News Norfolk ODU Football Sports

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Expansion?

Not sure why they are looking to expand Foreman Field. They need to look at building a new 30,000-33,000 facility that could not only serve the college but the entire community.

Parking

And ensure that the fans comply with the parking regulations in the neighborhoods that surround the stadium!

Stadium expansion

Is 33,000 - 35,000 seats big enough to attract BCS schools to play at ODU?

BCS

Starting in 2014, ODU will be a BCS school.

So, yes. A BCS team will play there every time there's a home game.

Except for ODU's committment to

schedule 1-AA opponents occasionally (James Madison, William and Mary, in particular) to continue long-standing rivalries, most games will be against 1-A teams. ODU might want to keep in mind the recent expansion of Bridgeforth Stadium at JMU, it is the crown jewel of FCS football stadiums (for now), and tho it currently seats 25K, it can be expanded to hold 40K fans. It's pretty breathtaking to drive onto that campus and see it, and it would seem that the current location of Foreman Field at ODU - expanded or rebuilt - would generate a similar reaction in the eyes of fans and recruits.

Ask Va. Tech and NC State.

Ask Va. Tech and NC State. They're both coming to Foreman Field before any expansion occurs.

Wake Forest

has 31,500. Wyoming, Duke, Kent State all have stadium capacities around the same or less.

ODU will never be big or

ODU will never be big or major like everything else in Hampton Roads and the State of VA.

not big enough

I'm not sure 33-35k seats is going to be big enough to fill demand.

Additionally, if the current stadium cannot be expanded past 35-40k ODU should build from scratch.

Waste of time

Should just build a new stadium and get it away from Old Durty. I feel like i am going to get raped or stabbed anytime i am anywhere around that place. What a waste

Hey Vegas...

Was that last sentence coming from experience at another school? Oh that's right you've never had anything nice to say about ODU ever...

Football Stadium

Current estimates suggest 30-32K tickets could be routinely sold. Season ticket & suites are on waiting lists. Need 40K seats for future growth. Foreman field can only be expanded one more time and probably not to this size. Plus build on the Powhatan waterfront and this avoids the current residential problems.

Thie Hampton Roads Area Has

historically underbuilt its sports/entertainment venues over the years: i.e. Scope, Chrysler Hall, and The Ted Constant Center.
Building a new 40,000+ seat stadium on campus stadium to be used for sports and shows would certainly be something most could support.
There are sponsors out there who would certainly like to book dates for top flight shows as well as the "naming rights".
Please don't expand Foreman Field. A new facility that would be easily expanded as the football program grows seems more logical. Taking a 1930's stadium on a very small footprint and trying to jam 2013 technology and amenities doesn't make good sense for the long term.
It's like taking a model A Ford and equipping it with a V-8 engine and extra seats!

Stadium

For once in the history of Hampton Roads, please think forward. a new stadium would benefit not only ODU, but the region as a whole. It would be a venue for concerts, Soccer and future NFL minor league

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