Old Dominion has played at Foreman Field for nearly 80 years now. On Thursday, the Monarchs announced plans to tear down the old lady… and continue playing at Foreman Field.
As detailed by the Virginian-Pilot, ODU’s new digs will be the same as its old digs as the program works to acquit itself to life as a Conference USA member. The school considered moving to a completely new site, but an analysis by architecture firm Populus determined the best course of action would be to build the new structure on top of the old one.
The new Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium will see capacity rise from 20,118 to 22,130, a move done after analysis showing the new capacity will match current ticket demand. The Monarchs have impressively sold out each home game since launching the program in 2009, but the 4,500-deep waiting list has evaporated and the club’s final home game of 2015 did not sell out until just before toe met leather. The 22,000-plus capacity will be the fourth-smallest in Conference USA and smaller than FCS programs James Madison and Norfolk State, but expandable to up to 30,000.
“This is a big deal,” Virginia Beach mayor and ODU board member Will Sessoms told the paper. “A lot of people are really excited by this. It’s a great proposal that’s fiscally responsible. I say we move forward.”
The school bypassed a $94 million model and instead opted for one that will cost a projected $55 million after a state-mandated directive to reduce its alliance on student fees. The $55 million sum will be raised through private fundraising, new stadium revenues and existing student fees repurposed to fund the structure.
“(A proposed $154 student fee) was unacceptable,” ODU chief operating officer David Harnage said.
The new stadium is projected to open in 2019.