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Home Field: Kornblau Field At S.B. Ballard Stadium, ODU

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Old Dominion University (ODU) went modern when remaking the university’s football stadium in 2019. The antiquated, 80+-year-old Foreman Field was demolished and replaced, virtually from the ground up, by the Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. 

The venue contains seats closer to the field, updated concession stands, a larger video board, and other amenities that create a more fan-friendly environment. However, built in just nine months, instead of the estimated 18 months, Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium is friendlier to the environment itself. 

Constructing a “high-performance sustainable facility” was a prime objective for the Norfolk, VA-based school. Eco-oriented features were incorporated throughout the open-air site and in select interior spaces, resulting in improved water and energy efficiency, even though Kornblau is larger than Foreman. 

The new field’s environmental accomplishments were impressive enough for the U.S. Green Building Council to honor ODU with a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for new construction.

Photo Courtesy Old Dominion University

During the building process, an emphasis was placed on using products that had published transparency disclosures, offered reduced global warming potential, and did not contain ingredients on the Living Building Challenge Red List. 

As part of the stadium’s indoor air quality management plan, all the paints and related items met the LEED volatile organic compound content threshold. No composite wood products that had added urea formaldehyde were used, and more than a quarter of the building materials contained recycled content. Likewise, nearly 80% of the construction waste (more than 9,800 tons) was diverted from landfills and recycled. 

Measures to reduce water consumption, such as installing more efficient plumbing fixtures, reduced water usage by 30%.

More water was saved through smartly designed drought-tolerant landscaping, which enabled the university to avoid putting in a permanent irrigation system. 

The exterior lighting at Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium was designed to decrease light pollution. The installation of high-tech mechanical systems cut energy use by 373,720 kBtu a year, with the field generating an estimated overall savings of 18%

The highlight of the revamped Ballard Stadium’s improved energy efficiency is its majestic 31 x 51.5 square foot video board that is entirely illuminated by LED lighting, as are the two new ribbon video boards on its east and west sides. As an additional efficiency element, the scoreboards also were connected to the Athletic Department’s central control room. 

“This video board takes our operations to the next level and to the top of our conference as one of the best facilities,” stated Tina Price, Old Dominion’s associate athletic director.

Photo Courtesy ODU Sports

One place where the fan- and eco-friendly upgrades met is in the stadium’s parking lot. The renovation included the addition of parking for low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles. Similarly, an upgrade also occurred at Kornblau Field’s concession stands

The new stadium more than doubles the places where fans can buy food compared to Foreman Field, improving both the variety of food and the speed of service. Among the expanded food menu is greater availability of more nutritious options. “Blitz Stations,” located on both sides of the venue, are stocked with healthy snacks. Items sold at Concession Stand #6 are air fried (even the French fries!), while Concession Stand #5 serves up veggie burgers and other plant-based food items. 

“As much as our students love pizza and fried chicken days, the demand for healthier food increases every year. We’ve increased vegan options and vegetarian options,” explained Robert Patton, ODU executive chef. “Eating less meat is a little more sustainable and healthier, so that’s a good thing.” 

Photo Courtesy ODU Sports

While Foreman was built in 1936, Old Dominion stopped fielding a football team after 1940. It only revived the program for the 2007 season, contributing to why a new venue was needed. 

However, ODU didn’t ignore its past when constructing Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. The new building pays tribute to its predecessor by including the Foreman’s brick pattern on its exterior and keeping the original arches. When your name is Old Dominion, it is only natural to integrate the old with the new. 

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