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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

S.B. Ballard Stadium Renovation Reaches Milestone

By Harry Minium

The renovation of Old Dominion's S.B. Ballard Stadium reached a milestone Saturday when work was completed on a 95-foot tower on the stadium's west side.

The tower is one of two that will rise on west side. Both will hold stairs and an elevator that eventually will lead to a new press box. Work began on the second tower late last week.

A smaller tower is being constructed on the stadium's east side. Work began on that Monday.

Stephen Ballard, who heads S.B. Ballard Construction, which is doing the renovation, called completion of the tower "a big step" in the construction process.

"That's good news," added Greg DuBois, ODU's vice president for administration and finance. "That's the next step for us. We are making good progress."

On Monday, construction entered a new phase as steel beams that will support the stadium seating began to be transported into the stadium's west side. Beams should start being installed Tuesday.

The $67.5 million renovation began with work on underground utility lines during the summer. Work was halted during football season, and two days after ODU's regular-season home finale with VMI, work resumed as two crews began to demolish the 82-year-old west and east stands.

Demolition was done in two weeks. Two pile-driving companies then drove 670 piles, finishing just before Christmas, and crews have been working on pouring concrete foundations since.

Work on the west side tower began Feb. 14. It is composed of giant pieces of precast concrete designed to fit together like a jigsaw puzzle. Bars of steel are imbedded in the precast, and each piece is lifted by crane and lowered into place, where the steel is inserted into pre-driven holes.

Precast is stronger and provides for less vibration than other construction methods.

When done, the stadium will feature two levels of seating on both sides, while the west side will be topped with a new press box. There will be no changes to the stadium's north end zone, which holds 5,100 spectators, or the luxury suites and loge seats in the south end zone.

The stadium will seat 21,895 fans.

The new S.B. Ballard Stadium will open Aug. 31, when the Monarchs host Norfolk State.

To view web cams of stadium construction, click here.

For information on purchasing ODU season tickets, click here.

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