New ODU residence hall named after civil rights pioneer Hugo A. Owens


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – The doors at the Hugo A. Owens House on the Old Dominion University campus are now open.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam took part in a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new residence hall on Thursday.

Owens House honors the legacy of Dr. Hugo A. Owens, a civil rights icon in Hampton Roads and the first African American rector of ODU’s Board of Visitors.

Gov. Ralph Northam discusses the significance of Dr. Owens’ contributions and how they relate to today’s social justice movement and its impact on the state. Photo Chuck Thomas/ODU

The $62 million five-story building houses 470 beds.

At 165,000 square feet, it is the second largest residential facility at ODU, but it’s the first completely wireless building on campus.

The impressive facility boasts a long list of extra features, including an innovation lab, living learning communities, classrooms, study rooms, learning commons, residence staff and faculty offices, community spaces, a cybersecurity lab and a Dr. Hugo A. Owens namesake wall.

Rosa Owens, Hugo Owens Jr., Paula Owens Parker and Patrice Owens Parker pose in front of a wall honoring their father. Photo Chuck Thomas/ODU

This is one of two major projects designed to improve STEM-H education at the university. The other is a $75 million Chemistry building, which is a short walk from Owens House. It opened just a couple days before the Owens House and features the Michael & Kimthanh Lê Digital Theater & Planetarium, 24 research labs, 13 teaching labs and 113 electrical panels.

There’s a lot happening at ODU. Just last month, the university also broke ground on its new Health Sciences Building. Officials say the facility will centralize all health sciences on campus, including the new occupational therapy doctoral program coming to ODU in January 2023.

A new sign sits on the location of the new Health Sciences Building. The building will be completed in the summer of 2023.

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