S.B. Ballard Stadium is taking shape

Work progresses at S.B. Ballard Stadium. Photo by Chuck Thomas/ODU
Work progresses at S.B. Ballard Stadium. Photo by Chuck Thomas/ODU

NORFOLK — After months of demolition, pile driving and pouring foundation, the new S.B. Ballard Stadium has finally begun to rise out of the ground.

Construction began last summer with the installation of underground utility lines, then was halted for the 2018 football season.

Demolition of the old stadium began Nov. 19, two days after ODU played its football home finale against VMI.

That game was followed by an emotional farewell ceremony to Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

Demolition was done in just three weeks and 670 piles were driven by Dec. 22, days ahead of schedule. S.B. Ballard Construction has been pouring the foundation for the new stadium in the two months since.

A crane recently began installing precast concrete that will form the indoor space on the ground floor of the new east and west sides of the stadium, including concessions stands, restrooms and equipment and storage rooms.

A tower that will house an elevator and stairwell for the new west side press box is now three stories high and growing.

Construction will end before the home opener of the 2019 football season.

Work began on the west side on Valentine’s Day. Greg DuBois, vice president of finance and administration, calls the installation of precast and steel “one of the crucial phases of construction.”

Precast concrete is used in most of the world’s best stadiums. It is more durable than facilities constructed on site. It also limits vibration and allows for faster construction.

By mid-March, more cranes will be on site erecting the steel that holds up new stadium seating.

ODU is doing a $67.5 million renovation that will provide new seats on both sidelines. Both will have two levels of seats, and the west side will be topped by a new press box and also contain the $2.5 million Priority Automotive Club.

Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium had a maximum capacity of 20,118. The new stadium will seat 21,895 fans, with an all-in capacity of 22,480 if the media, ushers, ticket takers and others are included.

ODU is scheduled to meet Norfolk State on Aug. 31 in the first game in the new stadium.

Work at the stadium can be viewed on three S.B. Ballard video cameras.

Link to Ballard video cameras

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John Mangalonzo (john@localvoicemedia.com) is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.