ODU's vision for its future coming into focus



Old Dominion University is unveiling a sweeping redesign of its campus that envisions dozens of new buildings – academic, athletic and residential – over the next 20 years.

The conceptual plan does not call for expanding the campus beyond its current boundaries, instead gaining capacity by building taller structures – up to six stories. Much of the new construction would occur in the University Village area east of Hampton Boulevard, where ODU previously acquired land for expansion.

But in a notable exception, the university has abandoned its controversial yearslong effort to acquire three holdout parcels in that area, yielding to a ruling by the state Supreme Court last week that one of the properties had been improperly condemned by a city agency working on behalf of ODU. The three parcels are occupied by an apartment building and two businesses, Central Radio and Norva Plastics.

David Harnage, ODU’s chief operating officer, said Friday the university will work around those properties as it fills in the University Village.

“The master plan has been adjusted to reflect the court’s decision,” Harnage said. “We’re not here to create trauma for people.”

Harnage presented the campus master plan to the ODU faculty Friday, the first in a series of meetings he will hold over six weeks with a variety of audiences, on and off campus. The plan is a working document that has not yet been approved by the university’s governing Board of Visitors.

The university’s last master plan was adopted in 1995. The new plan does not include dollar figures, and officials have not yet specified how it will be funded.

To accommodate the construction, the plan calls for demolishing several existing buildings, most notably Webb Student Center, and the venerable 77-year-old football stadium, Foreman Field.

Also facing the wrecking ball are three dormitory complexes – Powhatan Apartments, Gresham Hall and Rogers Hall – as well as Koch Hall (the main administration building), the chemistry building and planetarium, and the alumni center. The Mills Godwin Jr. Life Sciences Building will undergo a major renovation.

Dormitories would be built on both sides of Hampton Boulevard, increasing ODU’s on-campus housing capacity by nearly 50 percent, from 5,000 to 7,200 beds. That’s in addition to The District, a privately operated residential complex adjacent to the campus.

One complex of dormitories will stand on the site of Foreman Field, with the playing field preserved as recreational space for students. A football stadium with 28,000 to 30,000 seats will be built on the site of Powhatan Apartments.

Among other proposed structures are a student center, a standalone dining hall, a complex of science and engineering buildings, a performing arts center, and additional research buildings. A riverfront conference center is planned west of the new stadium.

Also planned: several parking garages that will accommodate 3,600 vehicles.

The bookstore in the University Village will be revamped as a recreation center and food service building. The new student center, to be built on the site of Webb Center, will include a bookstore and supplementary dining facilities. Adjacent to it will be an enrollment services and student success center.

An existing east-west walkway traversing the campus will become a “multi-modal transportation corridor” that will accommodate pedestrians, bicycles and a ground-level tram system. One purpose of the trams would be to ferry football fans from parking garages on the eastern end of the campus to the stadium.

The hope, Harnage said, is that Norfolk’s light-rail system will one day be extended to the ODU campus. If that happens, the university would create a transfer depot connecting light rail to the campus transportation system.

The elevated maglev (magnetic levitation) track over the central walkway – built years ago for an experimental urban travel project – will be retained for research purposes, Harnage said.

The plan also calls for two overhead pedestrian walkways crossing Hampton Boulevard.

ODU’s auxiliary campus in Virginia Beach is slated for a 200,000-square-foot expansion under the plan.

Harnage said the plan does not envision major growth of ODU’s student body, which stands at about 25,000. The university’s enrollment plan calls for annual growth of about 1 percent.

Bill Sizemore, 757-446-2276, bill.sizemore@pilotonline.com

Posted to: Education News Norfolk

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thanks for bringing a smile to my face

Multi modal transportation for students. Didn't we try that once already? Its now being preserved for research...the maglev. Please leave transportation failures to hrt.

But the rest I'm on board with.


No need to try new things, failure is always permanent. The Wright brothers should have quit after the first crash...

Exactly...most things are

Exactly...most things are not successful without first experiencing failure.

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everyone gets the maglev wrong

That was built with private finances to be a research project, which it still is.

Get rid of football, for a start



Now that's funny!


Looks like they where trying to steel the property of others using eminent domain by using there private contractor to condem the land of others. Didn't work this time.


Thanks for the comment on 4-year old news. If you read the article you actually commented on, you'll see that there will be no more land acquired.

Four year old land grab stopped by the court

Steelersfan does have an argument. The Norfolk city gov't in conspiracy with a state support university(“one of the properties had been improperly condemned by a city agency working on behalf of ODU”) divisive a plan to acquire business property for the benefit of ODU using imminent domain for the ”legal” acquisition of the property.

Apparently the Court did not agree.

Good thing the owners were able to afford to hire the dreaded “Trail Lawyers” to protect their business and personal interest and financial livelihood in a court of law.
Cost to the defendants?
Were they reimbursed?
Cost to State\ODU, i.e. taxpayers?

Appears the “government is the problem” for the owners of the apartment building, Central Radio and Norva Plastics.

Yeah that will

Yeah that will happen.......especially after they committed to bigtime CFB in Conf USA or MAC, whatever and a brand new stadium.

I would say that's where much of the money used for renopvations is coming from.

Looks like a sports empire, to me

Lots of time and money put into new and improved sports facilities, it seems. So what's the vision for ODU over the next 20+ years, anyway? Maybe we're beginning to better understand why Harry Lester favors William and Mary as a partner for EVMS's expansion...

Aren't most major public

Aren't most major public institution's sports empires these days?

For one...

Congress has become a "sporting" institution - especially in the sense that many Representatives and Senators are no longer focused upon the good of the whole (the country); rather, they are more focused upon wins for their own party.

Given the plan discussed here, I do not see Old Dominion University heading in that direction.

Of course

Who wouldn't rather associate their medical school to arguably the best college in the state rather than a large urban public university with the mission to educate the masses? That's not a dig on ODU, just the realities of a state university system that needs different schools to serve the diversity of the state's college students. As a medical school, EVMS will always be second fiddle to UVA. Some would argue VCU-MCV has surpassed them as well. Heck, the brand new VT med school is already on their heels in the rankings. They'll be #4 in the state if the don't throw their anchor around someone. Their location is probably their best asset now. I grew up in Virginia and had never heard of EVMS before moving to Norfolk.

That's cool and all, but...

Looks like ODU is getting rid of most of the existing parking for this new plan... 3,000 new spaces is nothing when there are 25,000 students plus faculty and staff! That's about how many spaces they have now.
Nothing noted about the status of new art buildings. They are building one now, but one floor is going to the Chrysler Art Library, and one to ODU's art library... So I'm curious how they expect an overflowing 2 story building of classes into one floor. We'll see. The map looked like random shapes to me... Much of it doesn't match up. The housing and parking need to come long before another several million dollar stadium.
ODU needs to incorporate the needs of everyone... Not just their fan base.

less lots, more garages

Where do you get that from? They're getting rid of a few lots and adding five new garages (although it looks like two will be Village dorms-only).


except... the "several million dollar stadium" will PAY FOR "the housing and parking".

The new stadium is THE FIRST priority. ODU Football will sell twice as many football tickets, once they have the seats! That's going to pay for much of what the rest of the master plan suggests. It also gets alumni re-involved & donating to the university.

My concern is that they're thinking WAY too small, with only 28-30,000 seats. I think 40-50k is a more realistic size!


I'm curious where the above commenters are getting the idea that this plan is athletics-focused? Looking at the VP's own graphic, there's the stadium and four small buildings added for athletics. The bulk of the change is in student housing, student services and research.

If you look at their own article on the subject, http://www.odu.edu/news/2013/9/new_campus_master_pl , you'll see a significant quantity of buildings dedicated to athletics.

If they tear down Webb

If they tear down Webb Center, it must be replaced with a classic, beautiful edifice that will be graceful and evoke an "old campus" feel. Please don't go modern or experimental. It has to stand the test of time. I've never gotten over that horrible library renovation, with the warehouse metal siding. I fear some architect will want to go "bold" with "new materials" and fail miserably. Keep it classic.

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Hampton Blvd Train underpass

Now is the time for the City of Norfolk and Norfolk Southern to grab the bull by the horns. With the new Mid-town tunnel being built, the new Fresh Market on 21st project and ODU's growing progress, Hampton Boulevard's railroad underpass is long due for an overhaul. It would be lovely to see Hampton and 21st street underpass have a makeover as was done on MonticelloAvenue. If you drive thru this I am sure you can agree this is a project that can no longer be ignored. The roads are narrow, multiple safety issues, non-pedestrian friendly and forget ever riding a bike thru there next to a semi truck. And talk about an eyesore gateway to ODU's new football arena.

Because, as you mention, the

Because, as you mention, the underpass is narrow, it probably needs a lot more than a makeover. Would need to be demolished to fit more than three standard-width lanes.

Perhaps the city needs to reconsider some form of the West Ghent Bypass project floated many years back. A bypass could start where Hampton drops from 6 lanes to 4, follow Bowden's Ferry Road to a bridge over the tracks, follow west Redgate & Raleigh, and tie into the existing interchange for the midtown tunnel. This could keep heavy traffic off of Hampton in Ghent and make the expanded tunnel a lot more useful.

Or they could even make the bypass one-way southbound and use the existing Hampton Blvd for 3 lanes of northbound traffic & possibly a future light rail extension.

no matter what

this school will be always be known as Over Dose U.

Why don't you see if you can

Why don't you see if you can get your Wahoos to play ODU in football. So far, they are afraid.

Why Dont See If You Can

Esau we can always count on you too say something really stupid cant we.

Perhaps if you clean up your

Perhaps if you clean up your spelling, grammar, and punctuation, we can have a reasonable discussion about ODU's campus expansion plans.

Great progress but...

I think this is some great progress. Noticeably absent in my opinion are upgrades to Rollins & Spong. These administrative buildings are the oldest on campus. I know it's the only remaining W&M buildings but they are so old. At lease a major overhaul of the interior. All in all great job to my alma mater. Also the map doesn't show what is replacing Rogers & Gresham. Are they putting new dorms there?


They just completed a renovation of Spong. Several departments moved in there over the last couple of weeks. I agree with Rollins. It badly needs a renovation.

a different idea

--it's always nice to see so many people, happy about the expansion of ODU all the time.

--how many of you realize that when they expand, you city tax base is reduced.--but all of you taxpayers are happy to step up for the benefits of being able to say you are doing your part.--in paying more in taxes, to compensate for the lost tax paying property--putting up with the expanded student population and everything that brings,--the loss of your privacy, expanded traffic problems, soon to be fixed with your new cho cho line.--but that will take more of your homes, but your willing to sell, just to get out of town.

Perhaps ijustwanted... does not realize...

That increased student housing - with no (well, 1%) increases in the student body - means more students will be living on campus - which means LESS traffic - AND the likelihood of increased revenues for current businesses (especially those that cater to students).

If I may correct ijustwanted...
Other than those already acquired, no additional "homes" or "tax paying properties" are going to be removed; therefore, this aspect of tax revenues for the city will be unaffected. Meanwhile, the increased number of students living on campus will spend their money where they live (Norfolk) instead of where they used to commute from (e.g.: Chesapeake, VB, etc.); hence, sales tax revenues for Norfolk should increase.

It's called economic logic.

Minor details...

"The new plan does not include dollar figures, and officials have not yet specified how it will be funded."

That seems like a rather large omission to me.

Thumbs down?

Really? Because I had the temerity to point out that not providing cost is a glaring omission? I don't think it's unreasonable to wonder how much a project of this magnitude will cost, but I guess some of you think money grows on trees.

Plans come in steps.

Plans come in steps. Sometimes knowing exactly what you'd like to do is the first one.

Now that the land grab is over....

I am glad to see them focus on working with what they have. A lot of existing buildings do need to be upgraded. I have a friend that owns property involved in that land grab so I've pretty much stayed away from everything ODU because of it. Never been to a football game and probably never will. The ONLY time I have been to Foreman Field was on August 17, 1974. How many of you remember going to see Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young? The first and only concert at a football stadium that sat relatively unused for the best part of 35 years. Now they want to build a new one...

Lack of Support

I'm sure that your lack of support will sink ODU ...


The condescending mental midgets will see to that.

After millions

were spent not long ago to renovate it. Must have some wealthy alum who will pitch in on this project.

Dude, go ahead, that show was legendary in Tidewater

I missed the CSNY concert at Foreman Field. I'm still kicking myself.

A good friend went however, said it was very hot that day but still a blast. Literally a blast, said they turned the fire hoses on the crowd it was so hot.

I did see Crosby, Stills and Nash at Hampton Coliseum though, no Neil Young, I was completely floored by the show, we left with tears streaming it was so good.

The plan seems reasonable

The plan seems reasonable overall, although it would be a shame to destroy the historic sideline stands at Foreman Field in favor of cookie-cutter student housing. I'd rather see them build around it, or even in the middle of the field itself, and find a creative reuse for the old brick stands.

And the discussion of transit on and to the campus really needs to include ferry access next to the new stadium, and the possibility of a light rail corridor cutting through the campus south to north.

Read Bootman

You have to agree Bootman is right (whether you like his posting or not), ODU just spent millions to improve Foreman Field. That is a fact - that issue cannot be debated. On well, tear it down now and build something else. What is the source of this money? That would be a good topic for the Pilot, but that will never happen.

One request ODU - please do not try to steal anyone's land.

They are not tearing down

They are not tearing down the part that cost millions . . . the field and the Ainslee Football building. They are staying.

Another conference center!!

This is the most exciting part of the plan, yet another conference center for Norfolk! Wow!! Hopefully someone will buy properties like the Bank of America building and build hotels in anticipation of the upcoming flood of conferences.

Upgrades to educational buildings I can support. How about having the football program be successful awhile before building a new venue?

The buck stops somewhere, until then the name is mud

I don't know if people read it, but VP's Candy Hatcher ran an op-ed piece a few days back that told a brief account about the owner of Norva Plastics. Started forty some years ago as a delivery driver to having bought the company, an American dream.

That individual expressed the weight of having this falling on his shoulders, the litigations, court dates, hiring a lawyer, the needless stress placed on one's life and livelihood.

On the other side is ODU teamed with Norfolk City Council & NHRA. No stress here, no one face, no individual to take ownership, no sweat, a cotillion of bureaucratic thieves without a face.

That's where Mr. Broderick comes into play, ODU's president, he needs put a face on this, and apologize for the mess he made.

To Anonymous

I don't think President Broderick should be blamed for the real estate mess, unless the theory is to always blame the guy at the top. I suspect the real estate debacle was a result of the Real Estate Foundation's thinking they could take anything they wanted. They did that for years, but thank God, the courts put a stop to their over-grabbing. I still do not think President Broderick had much to do with the Real Estate Foundation trying steal others' land.

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To Anonymous

I don't think President Broderick should be blamed for the real estate mess, unless the theory is to always blame the guy at the top. I suspect the real estate debacle was a result of the Real Estate Foundation's thinking they could take anything they wanted. They did that for years, but thank God, the courts put a stop to their over-grabbing. I still do not think President Broderick had much to do with the Real Estate Foundation trying steal others' land.

Real Estate grab

No Mr. Broderick had nothing to do with the Real Estate grab or the original plan, that was Mr. Harnage's baby years ago. Some things never change and some just come back. Joe Waldo stuck with his guns and it took him almost two decades to win. Mr. Broderick however, did bring Mr. Harnage back for the defeat. The university did not decide to give up on taking the property, the court decided that.

As I said, the buck stops somewhere

Someone needs to take responsibility and apologize to these 3 businesses, right now that would appear to fall on Mr Broderick. Got anyone else in mind? You weren't possibly thinking Mayor Fraim were you? The conniving crook himself? His bloated out of touch with reality entitled ego wouldn't permit it.

Why apologize?

Football season tickets are sold out with a wait list. Applications are up. Voters have re-elected the politicians that oversaw the expansion. All of which shows that only a small and vocal minority find this to be an issue.

Colley Bay

I don't understand why nobody has considered using Colley Bay for the new stadium like Baylor... especially if they are considering demolishing Rogers and Gresham.


Master Plan

Maglev was one of Mr. Harnage's projects back when he was a VP for Finance and the money came from a federal grant, which is probably why they can't tear it down. No other university wanted to touch the project because of the minimal funding, but it looked good on paper at the time to him. As for the master plan, much of what is proposed can only be paid for with money generated by the university either through fees or other revenue, the only projects in the proposal that could be funded by the Commonwealth at the academic buildings. Bucket list or wish list, it is....accomplishing it will be another matter. Has anyone done an impact study to see what kind of traffic will be generated in the community? Trauma is the operative word.

New Building Not Highlighted

What is the new building between the France and Dominion House dorms? It is on the map but not highlighted as new?

Answer... maybe.

If you're referring to the one immediately to the northwest of Webb Center, it's an existing Physics building - 4600 Elkhorn Avenue


Due west of that one. And due east of where 48th stops. There is a field there now and is surrounded by dorms. I also do not see the proposed basketball practice facility along Monarch Way, the Army ROTC wing of Rollins, or the Navy ROTC building. I also think they mis-labeled the new performing arts center. I think that is on Monarch Way between 46th & 47th.

Looks like they missed that one.

It looks like half of a chemistry beaker, right? I think they missed that one, Truthiness.

It DOES look like the outline of the grassy area between sidewalks and the patio of the U-shaped building directly across 49th Street from the Islamic Center, though. Somehow, I doubt they would try to wedge a new building in that spot, though.

Good catch.


That's the one. I'm less doubtful about them cramming another dorm in there than you are. I worry about a campus where the only green space is on Kaufman Mall.

Stadium site

If Rogers hall is coming down, why not relocate WHRO and gas station as well and build stadium there on Hampton Blvd so that future light rail can stop at the stadium?

Sounds Good Until

I liked many ideas and then this came up "Harnage said the plan does not envision major growth of ODU’s student body, which stands at about 25,000. The university’s enrollment plan calls for annual growth of about 1 percent."

It looks like a lot of money spent with little return on student growth.

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