Virginia varsity fundraising milestone


Old Dominion University ballpark renovation Image: ODU

The Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia (US) has been fundraising for renovations to its baseball stadium for the past 11 months.

‘The Virginian Pilot’ stated that as of January 20th, “nearly” $18 million of the $20 million needed for the renovations to and expansion of the current Bud Metheny Baseball Complex has been collected.

The Old Dominion University is a public research university in Norfolk, Virginia, US. It was established in 1930 as the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary and is now one of the largest universities in Virginia with an enrollment of 24,286 students for the 2021 academic year.

The 2,500-capacity Bud Metheny Baseball Complex is a stadium on the campus of the Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, US. It is primarily used for baseball, and is the home field of the Old Dominion Monarchs baseball team. The Monarchs are members of Conference USA.

Conference USA is an intercollegiate athletic conference whose current member institutions are located within the Southern United States. The conference participates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA’s) Division I in all sports. C-USA’s offices are located in Dallas, Texas.

Remarked Wood Selig, ODU Athletic Director, “We want this facility to be one that everyone in the community will be proud of. We want to give our coaches a facility that will help them recruit and our student-athletes a world-class training and competition venue.”

‘The Virginian Pilot’ further stated that the revamped facility will be named the Ellmer Family Baseball Complex, thanks to a $2.5 million donation from local businessman Dennis Ellmer and his wife, Jan.

Old Dominion’s fundraising goal may be $20 million, but is not letting that number cap its efforts.

Averred John Vellines, an ODU Athletic Development Officer, “Once we get to $20 million, we’re not stopping. We need to continue to upgrade the complex in the future in order to compete with the Power Five schools that we recruit against. And we still don’t know the final price tag.”

The Power Five conferences are the five most prominent and highest-earning athletic conferences in college football in the United States. They are part of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of the NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate football in the nation, and are considered the most “elite” conferences within that tier. The Power Five conferences are the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC), Big Ten Conference, Big 12 Conference, Pac-12 Conference, and the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

The renovations come almost two years after the Old Dominion was unable to host an NCAA Tournament regional because the stadium did not meet the NCAA standards.

The stadium is expected to have new locker rooms, new offices, improved seating behind the home plate, and expanded concessions and bathrooms among other things.

Kansas City, Missouri (US)-based Populous – a world-renowned sports architecture firm – has been announced as the company that will design the renovations.

Populous will be working with a familiar partner in Virginia Beach architecture firm Moseley. The two firms were also partners on the $72 million renovations to ODU’s football stadium.

Monarchs baseball coach Chis Finwood considers the recent installation of new LED lights at the stadium the unofficial phase one of the renovations.

Installed recently, the lights aren’t technically part of the stadium renovations that are planned to be completed before the 2025 season.

The new LED lighting system replaces the lights that have been in place since 1984 – the year after the Bud Methney Ballpark opened.

Observed Finwood, “Our lighting system had long outlived its useful life. To be honest, our lights were terrible. This is such a huge upgrade for us.”

The new lights were expected to be close to $900,000, but cost the school $650,000.

Added Finwood, “I hate to say it’s like night and day because that’s a cliché, but it is. But there were times last season when I wondered if I needed glasses.”

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