May Moments: Building ODU
If You Build It ...
The Administration Building, complete with a library, offices, six classrooms, two gymnasiums and a swimming pool, opens in September 1936. Funded by a loan and grant from the federal Public Works Administration, the cost is $123,000. In continuous use ever since, this Federal Revival-style facility is named for Old Dominion's third president, Alfred B. Rollins Jr., in 1996.
Old Dominion's first off-campus site, the Peninsula Graduate Center, opens in August 1986, offering graduate engineering courses to students in Newport News and Hampton. It is followed two years later by the opening of the original Virginia Beach Center and the debut of the Tri-Cities Center in Portsmouth. Old Dominion opens a fourth regional center, the Northern Virginia Center, in fall 2000. Old Dominion formally opens headquarters for its Virginia Modeling, Analysis and Simulation Center (VMASC) and a new facility to house its Tri-Cities Higher Education Center on Nov. 16, 2007.
Dragas International Center Opens
The Dragas International Center, named in honor of former rector and alumnus George Dragas Jr. and his brother, Marcus, has its grand opening on May 10, 1996. The facility is built to serve Old Dominion's growing international student population. The Board of Visitors votes to rename Hughes Hall as Dragas Hall after the international center is razed during the Foreman Field renovation project. The university hosts a ceremony for the rededication of Dragas Hall and the Hughes Atrium on June 13, 2012.
Applied Research Center Opens
The Old Dominion-operated Applied Research Center at the Jefferson Lab technology complex in Newport News is dedicated on May 4, 1998. The $18.4 million business park exists to nurture, support and foster creativity among researchers, faculty and students from local colleges and universities. ODU nuclear physics professors continue to have a strong presence at the Jefferson Lab facility.
The newly renovated Constant Hall, the new home for the College of Business and Public Administration, is dedicated on May 21, 2002. The $12.5 million facility features 23 fully mediated classrooms. Ted Constant, whose gift made it possible, is on hand for the ceremony, as is the school's first business dean, John Tabb. Just a few months later, on Oct. 25, Constant returns to campus for the grand opening of another impressive facility that bears his name, the Ted Constant Convocation Center. This $42.2 million state-of-the-art venue seats 8,600.
Frank Batten Announces $32 Million Gift
Old Dominion's first rector, Frank Batten, the founder of Landmark Communications Inc., announces a $32 million gift to the university on March 11, 2003. The largest gift in ODU history, it will endow chairs and support research in engineering and the sciences, primarily, though all six of the university's academic colleges will benefit. Batten's gift is made just as the university prepares to announce the start of a second, $100 million, capital campaign. ODU names the College of Engineering and Technology in Batten's honor in September 2003.
It Takes a Village
Anchored by the Ted Constant Convocation Center, ODU's University Village begins to take shape in August 2003 when students move in to the first units of the University Village Apartments. The Office of Public Safety also relocates to the new development, located across Hampton Boulevard from the main campus. Today, the Village also features the Ted Constant Convocation Center, Innovation Research Park, the university bookstore and an arts district consisting of the Baron and Ellin Gordon Art Galleries, Goode Theatre, Stables Theatre, Barry Arts Building, Brock Commons and the Hixon Art Studio and Annex. Several restaurants and shops and a hotel serve the campus community and area neighborhoods.
Center for Bioelectrics Opens
The Center for Bioelectrics, a joint venture between Old Dominion and Eastern Virginia Medical School, opens Nov. 24, 2003, in Norfolk's Public Health Building. One of its goals is to understand how intense, pulsed electromagnetic fields and cold ionized gases interact with biological cells and to apply this knowledge to the development of medical diagnostics and therapeutics. Leading the research is director Karl Schoenbach, an eminent scholar in ODU's Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology. Today, ODU's Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, under the direction of electrogenetherapy pioneer Richard Heller and since relocated to the University Village, boasts researchers who are exploring the powers of intense, pulsed electromagnetic fields and cold ionized gases to interact with biological systems. Their research has led to new medical diagnostics, therapies and environmental decontamination technologies with worldwide impact.
Kornblau Alumni Center Dedicated
Old Dominion's first alumni center is dedicated in May 2004 and named for Richmond businessman Barry M. Kornblau '71, whose significant gift makes it possible. The facility, which originally housed the Public Safety Office, underwent a major renovation and now is home to ODU's Office of Alumni Relations. It is also the site of choice for many Alumni Association-sponsored activities and campus gatherings.
In 2005, retired businessman Leonard Kaplan and his wife, Tobee, of Greensboro, N.C., give Old Dominion $1 million for the construction of a greenhouse/conservatory on campus, and Dr. Arthur S. Kaplan, a retired Norfolk physician, and his wife, Phyllis, subsequently donate a nearly 1,000-plant collection of orchids and a monetary contribution for an endowment for the care and maintenance of the greenhouse. The facility features a conservatory for public display of plants and flowers, a growing area and research laboratories. The greenhouse, which opens in 2008, and plant collection are a natural extension of the university's botany legacy and recent endeavors, according to Lytton Musselman, Mary Payne Hogan professor of botany.
Innovation Research Park
On May 16, 2007, Gov. Tim Kaine and President Roseann Runte officially launch Innovation Research Park @ ODU, an $80 million economic development project, with an opening celebration for the park's first building at 41st Street and Monarch Way. Located in the University Village, IRP @ ODU is a unique public-private partnership designed to merge university intellectual capital, faculty and students with private-sector companies to pursue research, technology development and business-creation opportunities. ODU offices occupy about 60 percent of the building, including the Office of Research, Research Foundation, Lean Manufacturer Institute, Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, Computational Intelligence and Machine Vision Laboratory, Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography, Center for Advanced Ship Repair and Maintenance, National Center for System of Systems Engineering, Virginia Applied Technology and Professional Development Center, and Office of Spatial and Cartographic Information.
Learning Commons Opens in Perry Library
The Learning Commons, a state-of-the-art collaborative educational space, opens in the newly enlarged Perry Library in fall 2011, and quickly becomes a hit with students. By mid-semester, more than 1,000 visitors a day take advantage of the learning tools - from technological aids to tutoring - that the facility offers. The Learning Commons and the nearby Student Success Center are part of a university-wide initiative, introduced by President John R. Broderick, to set a new standard for student success and student learning. Together, he says, the Learning Commons and Student Success Center form "a collaborative environment that offers personalized help for students, as well as an opportunity for students to take responsibility for their learning experiences, build their academic plans and receive guidance from peers and advisers alike."
The Early Childhood Center is Born
In 2013, Old Dominion University's Darden College of Education this week launched the Virginia Early Childhood Policy Center (VECPC), whose mission will be to develop materials and conduct original research leading to positive changes in early childhood policy in the commonwealth. The center, the only one of its kind in Virginia, will also provide useful information to parents, communities, schools and others directly involved with the well-being of young children. It is unique in the comprehensive approach it will bring to early childhood issues, one that will focus on education, health, family support services and special populations.
Continuing Education at ODU
In September 2013, the Old Dominion University Board of Visitors approved the establishment of a new college, the College of Continuing Education and Professional Development. While ODU provided continuing education for many years, the establishment of the new college signifies ODU's commitment to the community and to industry. Located in the Virginia Beach Higher Education Center, the college will deliver classes online, around the region and on-site at business and industrial locations.
Images here are current and available through the ODU Web site. For more photos and information about the history of ODU buildings, visit the University Archives in Perry Library. You may also view a digital exhibit of early buildings or view buildings through the early 2000s in the ODU Photographic Collection. See also Resources page.