Norfolk mayor praises ODU stadium, master plan


Calling it "a big and bold plan," Mayor Paul Fraim said Friday he saw plenty to like in a proposed campus master plan for Old Dominion University that would include a new, 30,000-seat football stadium.

Fraim and City Manager Marcus Jones were briefed on the plan by ODU President John Broderick, Chief Operating Officer Dave Harnage and athletic director Wood Selig. Fraim said he has seen only a presentation, not any documents on the master plan.

"Our planning staff hasn't begun to evaluate this, and at some point they will," he said. "But I applaud President Broderick and his administration for being so visionary. It has the potential to dramatically improve the academic reputation of the university and to bring enormous benefits to the entire Hampton Roads community."

Fraim said the plan includes additional housing for thousands of students and the grouping of residential, academic and research facilities into pods.

"They want to bring similar academic operations together," Fraim said. "It will bring some dramatic changes to their campus."

He said the plan projects ODU's student population to increase about 1 percent per year but for faculty and especially research employee rolls to grow much faster. The expansion of ODU's research facilities will create jobs, he said.

The executive committee of ODU's Board of Visitors was briefed Monday on the proposed master plan, which hasn't been released to the public. The plan deals with every building on campus, from residential halls to classrooms, as well as recreational space.

ODU likely doesn't need the city's approval for the plan, since it involves state property, but Broderick and Fraim said they want to come to a consensus before it is implemented.

ODU officials said Friday that the plan also calls for a softball stadium to be built adjacent to the new football stadium. ODU would begin playing softball and volleyball within a few years, Selig said.

Broderick said that the plan includes an expansion of the L.R. Hill Sports Complex, where ODU's football team has its offices, weight training facilities, locker rooms and practice fields.

Replacing or expanding Foreman Field, the 77-year-old stadium that is the home of the football team, was one of the major tasks involved in the development of the master plan. Selig said officials quickly determined that expanding Foreman Field was not financially feasible.

Instead, they proposed building a stadium on the west side of the campus, at 48th Street and Powhatan Avenue at the southwestern edge of the Larchmont neighborhood. The stadium would be expandable in three or four stages, Fraim said.

Fraim, who lives in Larchmont, said it appears to be the best alternative available.

"Old Dominion officials think this is the only place they can build a new stadium," Fraim said. "And I think I agree with them."

Moving the stadium half a mile from Hampton Boulevard likely would bring increased traffic into Larchmont, Edgewater and Lamberts Point. Fraim said he believes that by working with the city, ODU can minimize those problems.

"I think it can work," he said. "I hope it can work."

Speaking for the first time publicly about the stadium proposal, Broderick cautioned that the plan could change as ODU officials meet with neighborhood leaders, students and faculty.

"I really feel strongly that this is a significant step forward, not only for the university and coach Bobby Wilder and his football program, but also the city of Norfolk and entire Hampton Roads region.

"But a lot needs to occur before anything is finalized.

"Master plans typically get vetted over a period of time. Ultimately you make minor and sometimes more major adjustments to it. If this is a 10-step process, we're kind of in steps three or four."

Neighborhood leaders in Larchmont, Lamberts Park and Highland Park praised ODU for working with them on the Ted Constant Convocation Center arena that opened in 2002 and when ODU began playing football at Foreman Field in 2009. Broderick said ODU plans to work with neighborhood leaders in a similar way with the stadium.

"We're going to spend the same amount of time with them as we did with Foreman Field and the Constant Center," he said.

Laurie Chapman, who heads the Larchmont-Edgewater Civic League, said via email that ODU "will get an earful from some Edgewater residents" opposed to the stadium's being so close to their neighborhood.

But she said she's glad to hear that ODU officials will meet with the civic league, which she said will remain neutral until a meeting is held.

"We need details," she said.

Harry Minium, 757-446-2371, harry.minium@pilotonline.com


Posted to: Education News Norfolk ODU Football Sports

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lost their sizzle

Everything falls flat with me concerning ODU as long as they continue to use eminent domain to oust cornerstone businesses in our community.

Fix the PR on that fiasco and I'm back on board.


You must have a funny definition of "cornerstone." Think what you will about eminent domain -- which was enshrined in the constitution at its drafting -- but I've yet to hear of an affected business that I considered cornerstone, or foundational, or anything else to ODU or Norfolk, for that matter.

Eminent Domain

Eminent Domain was intended for public works projects - airports, roads, etc. Not coffee shops for ODU.

Yes cornerstone, let me give you a definition of that

Well you couldn't be more wrong.

An 80 year old business with an excellent reputation, serving our #1 bread and butter industries, shipbuilding and the largest military presence in the western hemisphere, and them being strategically located in the middle of all the above, is a cornerstone business in our community.

My simple solution would be to include such a gem as part of your campus. ODU had no problem with a Starbucks on campus, why not a Central Radio? ODU would be lucky to have them.


Except that it would be just as appopriate in Airport Industrial Park, or in some nondescript building on the edge of downtown Newport News. Face it, there's nothing special about a quasi-industrial light manufacturing operation. There are plenty of mediocre peers as far as the eye can see.

Nothing wrong with it, but it's hardly a cornerstone of the community. Cornerstone! Love that. Like the west side will dry up and blow away without it.

Except when you split hairs for the sake of arguing

Try removing log from eye.

What you describe as being mediocre is this areas lifeblood. Sorry you see the largest pool of highly skilled trade workers in America as mediocrity. The Mom&Pops are the cornerstones of that, and yes they are everywhere. What does it take to rate being a cornerstone, a Wells Fargo? Art is in the eye of the beholder my friend, and you should spend less energy splitting hairs with me.


First,eminent domain is no longer legal in Virginia. Second, we have heard nothing about the university needing more land to execute this plan. Third, since football makes ODU more attractive to potential students, this plan has the potential effect of increasing applications, which could allow for greater selectivity in students.

So, the plan requires little to no additional land; improves our enjoyment of the game; and could lead to more student applications. I love the plan!

past mistakes

Nothing changes the facts until ODU fixes this egregious error.


It is over, my friend. Move on. The discussion must be about where we go from here.

I'm not budging thanks

Tell that to Norva Plastics and Central Radio. Tell that to any red blooded American.

And you're wrong, it's not over, we still have a state supreme court decision pending.

And for some like myself it will never be over until I see an apology and the making of things right.

Do you Work/Own Central Radio?

JettyHop, I noticed all your posts on here concern Central Radio are you some how employed by the business?

Finally, as much as you do not like the idea of Eminent Domain it is part of the Virginia Constitution and the US Constitution. The only thing that was "removed" is that you can no longer take land for purely economic development. However, as part of Central Radio will be used for Educational Facilities by a "State" Agency it will go through. Even if the Supreme Court of Appeals Rules that NHRA missed a deadline in 2010, all that would happen is they would start the process all over again and in the end you lose the land and the cost that was incurred to fight the loss of the land. We call this a No-Win situation just move.

I work at similar

I'm a machinist, inside, with a vested interest in being employed by likeminded small businesses that are supporting Virginia's and the USA economy.

Enough of an explanation?

Who's property are they

Who's property are they going to steal this time to build the stadium and additional parking and extra facilities?? Plus how much of our state tax dollars are going to go to fund this project????

taking their own land

They're going to be taking ODU's land for it. Look at a map, they're talking about where the Powhatan Apartments currently sit.


Proposed location of the stadium is poor. Placing it deep inside campus with limited access is a mistake. The land behind WHRO is perfect for the stadium. On Hampton Blvd, where light rail extention is planned would be far better, and this stadium although a University facility needs to be looked at as a regional facility as Hampton Roads has no such facility. I m not proposing others help pay, but it should be designed for the regions needs, not just the University

What area are you talking

What area are you talking about? Larchmont Elementary's PE field?

I must agree with Timothy...

Behind / beside WHRO is the athletic field / playground for Larchmont Elementary; this is City property, and there is no other room for anything else there.

If the University can (dare I suggest) design the new stadium to accommodate multiple sports, the land nearby (e.g.: soccer "stadium", others) could be utilized to build new housing (perhaps multiple mid-rises) to replace the deplorable 40+ year old Powhatan apartments while making space for the new stadium. Or soccer and other sports can move to Foreman field.

Regarding comments (above) about spending money at Foreman Field only to have a new stadium built a few years later - I do not believe ANYone could have predicted Old Dominion University's "assention" to CUSA.

Isn't it funny in a sad way

That countries much older than the U.S. have built structures that are centuries old and are still in use but here, and especially in Virginia, housing and schools that were built just 30, 40, 50 years ago are decrepit and deplorable? They can not be made functional but must be torn down and replaced by shiny new, super-sized structures.


Relocate WHRO and replace Larchmont ( its overdue) use site for stadium. Makes sence and is more feasible than the Powhatan site

Cant do WHRO Lot

If they had tried to build it behind the WHRO building they would have to get the Army Corp of Engineers approval due to the tidal marsh/basin that is currently there. As we have all read with the US 460 expansion project the ACE doesnt really play nice with the Commonwealth and the increased cost would put it out of reach.

Finally, why should the University pay and build something that is for the Region? If the region doesn't want to contribute capital to the project they shouldn't get a say in the design, placement.

I do agree that putting it at Powhatan is not the best location, I would prefer over near 41st Street where the empty space is currently located. Or 44th thru 41st Street between Killam and Colley.

Footbal will destroy ODU

The expense will limit support of all other athletic and academic activities. Then the inevitable liabilities from brain and bodily injuries -- both the NFL and the NCAA will lose the class action lawsuits brought by the players -- will make football unplayable by any institution with a budget and a conscience within a decade.

Any money spent on this boondoggle will be crippling to the institution in both the near and long terms.

For a collection of PhDs and policy professionals, the decision makers at Old Dominion University sure seem shortsighted.

You forgot high school, middle school, little league & peewee

football. I'm sorry, but I disagree with your assessment and predictions about football and that it will be "crippling to the university". UVA and Virginia Tech have seemed to prosper with their football programs. Are you predicting a total collapse of all universities that have football? Granted, serious injuries, life long physical disabilities, and even death has resulted from playing football. The same can be said for numerous other sports as well. Contrary to your comments, ODU football has expanded athletics and academics as the ODAF has received record donations and an increase in ODAF memberships.

I'm predicting the deatth of all fottball

Insuring a football team will become impossible after the NFL and the NCAA lose the brain injury lawsuits. Every cent ODU invests now is a 100 percent fiscal loss in the long term.

Beyond that, do you understand that

-- Virginia Tech and UVA lose money on football? No way ODU profits.

-- Neither has had consistent success on the gridiron barring the late 1990s-early 2000s at Tech? No way ODU wins consistently.

-- While other sports produce injuries, football is the only sport a majority of schools support whose entire strategy and tactic boils down to causing injuries.

If you put any thought at all into your defense of football at ODU, or any other school, you;d realize that the sport is indefensible.

Comment deleted

Comment removed for rules violation. Reason: Off topic


Why not on the east side of Hampton Boulevard? There's plenty of condemned land sitting vacant there. That would both save the existing facilities on the west side of the road, and make for easier access in and out.

Where, exactly...

...is this "condemned land" east of Hampton Blvd? I'm looking at Google maps, and I just don't see it.

Not accurate

Google Maps is highly out of date on that area as the land east of Hampton between 39th and 41st is currently empty lots all of the way to The District building, almost all of which was taken by eminent domain.

IMHO, that would make a great location for a new stadium.

I also find it a bit ironic that the current plan removes the very dorms that the football players use because it is such a short distance from their training facility.

The Norfolk Mayor

Is he the ODU lap poodle? He seems gleeful about taking the hard earned property of his residents. Anything for the Monarchs.

Perfect example of why Hampton Roads growth is slow!

Many of you would rather the region be die than take measures to grow into the future.

Old Dominion University is growing and this is good for our region! Some sacrifices has to be made to ensure that continues and serve the purpose for which the university was built.

It is unfortunate for those whose properties lie in the path of this growth but this same sacrifice has been made by thousands before them to ensure that our transportation and military needs are met. Someone had to lose their home and properties for us to have these luxuries.

Now, just relax and be thankful for what you have because technically, no man can claim a right to something he did not create such as land. Besides, in 200 years, no telling who will own YOUR land

Except they're not taking

Except they're not taking any property in this plan...

In a round-about way, they are.

They're taking the property of local mom & pop businesses elsewhere because they want to save this property for their new super deluxe football stadium. I love football but am totally against irresponsible government spending and bullying. Why don't ODU and the NRHA dedicate as much effort to re-locating business and home-owners as they put into forcing them out? Surely together they could find the intelligence and resources for a little community goodwill.

The Forever Mayor needs to

The Forever Mayor needs to be reminded that ODU has stolen the homes and memories of many people who will never support such behavior or him if he chooses to be "re-elected" again.


SO glad the emperor approves!

Was a bit apprehensive as Broderick and company genuflected and kowtowed before the city boss.

These guys didn't have all the booty someone like Bruce Thompson had to offer, you know.

There must be something in it for him.

"Big and bold" might also be

"Big and bold" might also be described as "greedy and disgusting".

ODU needs to improve its

ODU needs to improve its academic reputation more than a add new football stadium. I know many schools see the big bucks generated by football, but in the end if you academic credentials are third rate you are not making a long lasting contribution to Hampton Roads. New businesses are drawn to areas with great schools. They know they can find top notch employees.

Excuse me but...

Didn't ODU and the city just spend several MILLION dollars to renovate the existing stadium less than five years ago? $29+ million in 2009. Now you want to build a brand new stadium? Who does that? Who spends this kind of money so recklessly? The pros don't even get new stadiums every few years. Get real. There is no way ODU or the city of Norfolk will be able to come out of this fiasco looking good.

The $29 million that was

The $29 million that was invested is largely being retained. That money is not going to waste. That money was largely spent to build the Ainslee Football building, which will not be torn down, and on the field turf, which will be used as a recreation playing field.

A $29 million recreational playing field.

In addition to several hundred million (costs and funding have not yet been made public) for a new athletic field. And that makes sense to you? You're either involved in this decision-making or you've got more money than most tax-payers and have no concept of wise spending by budgeting and planning - beyond four or five years.

The field did not cost $29

The field did not cost $29 million. What are you complaining about? It's not be torn up. Nor is the new construction, where most of the money was spent.

Field cost 800K out of the 29m

The field cost 800k out of the 29m........Rip it up and build dorms and rental space for small business....


--the last expansion of ODU cost the taxpayers in NORFOLK how many taxpaying buildings in the name of expansion?

--how much more will this non-taxpaying school take of taxpaying property for this expansion, and how will the city make up for the lost income?-RAISE TAXES ON THE REST OF YOU?

--tare down dorms that will have to be replaced somewhere?

--look at the bright side-a new football stadium

--with tickets that will have to cost more, and school tuition will have to go up to pay for it,-but they expect the federal government's tax paid money will cover their salaries.-a win,-win situation for them-how about you?

-but they never got back the money they just spent on the new stadium?--taxpayers money grows on trees!-haven't you heard?


Some of you can't handle the growth and the fact that ODU is becoming a fast moving train. I figure alot of that is envy from other college alumni. Remember you get out of the way of fast moving trains. Onward ODU.


ODU will always be OverDose University


I heard that nickname back in the 60's in Lynchburg.

Unless it is a mag-lev

Unless it is a mag-lev train. hahaha

ODU is like the Bloob,

ODU is like the Bloob, except it is not a horror movie. It soaks up other people's homes and uses the law to back its theft. You have a lot of nerve to make such a totalitarian and arrogant comment. People is Norfolk will no longer be run over by trains and bullies.

I will not support any

I will not support any college that confiscates land from others to promote themselves and take tax money from the people who work here. I will not attend any of their events.

Well then, you don't support

Well then, you don't support any colleges at all.

Mayor Fraim

"It has the potential to dramatically improve the academic reputation of the university"

Mayor Fraim, under what 'academic' department do you get a degree in 'football'? What a total monumental waste of money.

This is about ODU's power and money, not the curriculum or community institution building.

college industrial complex

College has become an industry similar to the Prison Industrial Complex and the Military Industrial Complex.

Since we don't have any major league sport teams here locally--and never will--I think this is a good investment for football fans.

Ticket prices and parking fees will eventually compensate for the expense of building a new stadium.

From what I hear every game is sold-out. The stadium should be big enough so that everyone who wants to attend a game will be able to.

I don't think applications will increase to ODU because of this though. Academic reputation, prestige, and history do that. ODU has a 75% acceptance rate, which hardly makes it selective.

ODU is a solid commuter school and should stop trying to be something it's not

Seriously? Don't try to

Seriously? Don't try to improve? Glad our college Presidents don't think like that. Schools like ODU, GMU, VCU and VT have made huge strides academically in the last decade. It's better for our state in that students can get a good education at in state rates, even if they can't get into UVA or W&M. Selectivity isn't a bad thing but a better judge of education is outcomes. That's where schools like the ones above are making greater strides. As far as ODU is concerned, they are ranked in the highest category by US News, and while they haven't yet cracked the top 200, if you look their peers and where they rank with nearly identical credentials its safe to say that ODU will be one of the nations top 200 schools in the very near future.


ODU will always be known as OverDose U.

Where does ODU expect to find incoming students? Not

Norfolk that's for sure. Have you seen the graduation rates? Oye. And another thing, The Planners behind this have already made their decisions. And it will be on the west side of Campus on the Longwood to 48th St. and bluestone, say adios to Quarantine Rd. Now is the time to start your business plan to contract traffic control during the sports season. It's too big for the local Police and Campus Police. So find out how, what's required to be a contractor, because even today from 24th and Colley / Hampton Blvd / Little Creek to Hampton Blvd. is grid lock before and after the ODU game, and then apply for the street vendor license as well, 30,000 seats plus is a lot of customers - Oh my, forgot about the tail gate parties, more mayhem. done.

Is there Valet Parking? Wow - there's money to be made

several drop off points, hire 'responsible - up standing' student fraternities make it non-profit - chaa ching.. and then at some points have the rickshaws from outlaying parking, let's start our planning now.
Nothing else matters now, just get ready. www.odu/edu.

Hurry hurry

Gotta get this done quick before anyone catches on. Shouldn't these decisions be slowly done with great insight? Maybe wait a year or two just to see what effect Obama's college funding scoreboard will have on federal money coming into the school? ODU might need that stadium construction money to stay alive.


I did not go to Old Dominion University, but have visited the campus, and Norfolk. All there is to be said is that ODU is the only thing in Norfolk worth saving for the most part. The state of Virginia should give most of Norfolk to the school. Then it would all be clean, new and not an eye-sore for people traveling to Va. beach. The reason why ODU has to have a 75% acceptance rate is because of the bad reputation of Norfolk. A lot of people write it off before they even arrive at the school! Well, if I had to live there I would pray for that school to take as much of that city as possible. It would quadruple its worth. There is much to consider, but this school needs to move forward and become an A-1 school. Save Norfolk.

No. The state of Virginia

No. The state of Virginia should take your home and see how you like it. Norfolk has a lot of great places. As you said, you don't live here. That is a plus.


Please feel free to drive on through Norfolk to the land of the bland, Va Beach. You might enjoy flying into Virginia Beach Regional Airport too. BTW, in the late 60's ODU was known as a party school and that they'd take ANYONE. It's still largely a commuter school, thus the 75% acceptance rate.

Good Luck

I don't see 30,000 butts in the seats to watch a losing football team. It's not the ACC in either athletic prowess or academic achievement. A school, like a city, has to know its own limits. ODU and Norfolk don't know theirs.

So basically know your role

So basically know your role and don't rock the boat or try to improve yourself. Sounds like Jim Crow type thinking to me. I'm glad our university is thinking big and trying to do big things. It would be great to have a VT or NC State caliber school in our region and seems ODU is getting closer to making that a reality everyday. As citizens we should encourage and support that. (Except for the eminent domain part) A rising tide lift all boats so I hope ODU rises to the top. We all should.

Stand by.....

This is just a precursor to utilizing taxpayer money to benefit ODU and big business. I'm sure the Mayor and all his buddies will spend the rest of their lives in luxury.

Big, Bold, and Stupid.

Once ODU starts getting trounced in CUSA the losses will mount. And the fair weathered ODU fan base, which is currently all frenzied over football, will begin to stay away in droves. Thirty thousand seats? ODU will be lucky to fill Foreman Field in three years. There is absolutely no need to build a new stadium at the commuter school on Hampton Blvd.

Someone sounds like a

Someone sounds like a trolling JMU fan. Calling ODU a fair weathered commuter school these days is akin to calling Christopher Newport a junior college with no dorms or sports at all. Maybe true thirty years ago, but the ODU of today is much more like the VT of 20 years ago, than how you describe it. Over 4000 residents living on campus and thousands more undergrads in the immediate area make commuters and non traditional students a much less influential part of the campus. If Norfolk ever gets the south and east sides of campus cleaned up Hampton Roads could have a real gem we can all be proud to have in our community and send our kids to for a great education.

Send Your Children to ODU...

..for a great education?
Thats great and best wishes to you and your children.

I presume they do not attend Norfolk PS's because how else would you get to ODU thru a failed elementary system!

This has nothing to do with

This has nothing to do with Norfolks public schools. And it's certainly not unreasonable to think ODU can provide a great education for students within a decade. They do a good job of providing a god education now. Customer service, eminent domain, etc, not withstanding. My point is, we should support and encourage our most local university to prosper. I realize most schools find their worst critics in their own towns, but embracing and supporting ODU helps us all if we live here. No matter where one may have gone to college.

Everything else being equal, a pig with lipstick, is still a pig

ODU's football schedule has included playing mostly extended high school teams, outside of say Villa Nova.

Everything else being equal, a pig with lipstick, is still a pig!

ODU: Champion of Football

Praise the visionaries of what is ODU and Mayor Fraim for the plan of building such a giant stadium in Norfolk!

Now after its built, would ODU and Mayor Fraim tell me how many of Norfolk Public Schools students are going to be able to go there and be "educated" in "football"?

Norfolk schools are in the toilet and these two are planning a tailgate party-go figure!


Mayor Fraim...Really??

"potential to dramatically improve the academic reputation of the university"

The audacity of mentioning academic reputation!!

Well Mayor, why don't you and the Norfolk school board get off your pompous, arrogant, back room dealing backsides and fix the academic reputation of the public schools FIRST!

Softball field? Really?

I don't remember the academic reputation of ODU ever turning on a softball field? I don't even remember studying softball fields. Wow! That Mayor Fraim! He is so smart! What will he think of next!

That Mayor Fraim! He is so smart!

I don't remember the academic reputation of ODU ever turning on a softball field? I don't even remember studying softball fields. Wow! That Mayor Fraim! He is so smart! What will he think of next!

That Mayor Fraim! He is so smart!

I don't remember the academic reputation of ODU ever turning on a softball field? I don't even remember studying softball fields. Wow! That Mayor Fraim! He is so smart! What will he think of next!

Butt out, Fraim!

Keep your grubby little paws off this project!

ODU Master Plan

The ODU Master Plan is quite simple and should be understood by all. Steal from the poor and give to the rich. If a Small Business is in the way, stomp on it and run it out of town as long as the Big Businesses are providing money for re-elections and incentives. The slogan for the ODU Master Plan, "With the Mayors help, no one will stand in our way of progress".


You people are priceless. I don't live in your fine city but I have a son who goes to ODU, so i have been there.
What is so wrong with administrators trying to improve the university? Other schools do this all the time and people don't complain the way the whiners of Norfolk do. You wanna see immanent domain at its finest watch the Kansas Speedway race and envision the 125 homes that were taken for a racetrack. Sometimes you have to give a little to get a lot. If you don't build a new stadium you will not be able to bring in the larger schools to the area and you will continually have to play them on the road, you want that money coming to Norfolk, wether the team wins or loses. Look at what they have done in 5 short years, be proud.

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