S.B. Ballard Stadium will have a videoboard and three ribbon scoreboards

(Rendering) S.B. Ballard Stadium is scheduled to open Aug. 31. (Soujtside Daily/Courtesy of ODU)
(Rendering) S.B. Ballard Stadium is scheduled to open Aug. 31. (Soujtside Daily/Courtesy of ODU)

NORFOLK — The reconstructed S.B. Ballard Stadium already promised Old Dominion University football fans larger and more comfortable seats and modern restrooms and concessions stands.

ODU officials recently announced they will add four more amenities sure to be a big hit – two 300-feet ribbon scoreboards on the east and west sides, a 125-foot ribbon scoreboard on the south end zone suites and a new digital, state of the art video board.

The Administration and Finance Committee of ODU’s Board of Visitors saw updated renderings of the stadium during a presentation by Acting Director of Design and Construction David Robichaud. The ribbon scoreboards were the most obvious changes made from original renderings done more than a year ago.

Two ribbon scoreboards will be able to be seen by every fan in the stadium.

Greg DuBois, ODU’s Vice President for Administration and Finance, said the videoboard will be located at the same place, near the north end zone, as the current scoreboard.

The new scoreboard will be a little larger than the old one, which is ten years old, but will be far more sophisticated. It will be much like the scoreboard at the Ted Constant Center, where the score of the game disappears during instant replays and the entire scoreboard displays video.

Daktronics has been contracted to install the new boards.

“We’re making good progress on the construction and look forward to sharing with the entire university community, alumni and fans the newly renovated home of the Monarchs,” DuBois said. “With enhanced seating comfort and high-quality amenities, the stadium will offer fans the game-day experience they want.”

Robichaud said the stadium will be ready when ODU meets Norfolk State on Aug. 31. “We’re going to deliver it on time and on budget and without sacrificing quality,” he said.

The stadium replaces the 82-year Foreman Field that offered a sense of history, but little in the way of creature comforts.

The committee was shown renderings of the east side entrance, which has a Norfolk city seal. Just inside the entrance is a display dedicated to the history of Foreman Field.

The reconstructed S.B. Ballard Stadium will be much taller and more imposing than the old stadium. The west side press box is 95 feet tall, 42 feet taller than the old west side.

The stands are slanted more upward, putting fans right on top of the playing field. The stands are also angled inward at each end. That will give people on the 10-yard-line a much better view than they had last season.

There will be 15,923 new seats on the east and west sides, and all will have back support, including 6,170 chair-back seats. The restrooms will have 232 toilets, nearly double the number at Foreman Field.

“Our fans are among the best fans in the country,” athletic director Wood Selig said.

“It is gratifying to know that we have considerably enhanced every fan’s experience in S. B. Ballard Stadium whether it is more leg room, considerably more and varied concession offerings, better sight lines, and back support for every sideline spectator.

“ODU fans have patiently waited for these amenities and I feel certain one of the results we will all notice immediately will be an even better game day atmosphere inside S.B. Ballard stadium. That should aid our team by giving us an even greater home field advantage.”

DuBois gave a thumbs up when asked about the wow factor of the ribbon scoreboards.

“I can’t wait for the stadium to open,” he said.

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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.