ODU considers demolishing parts of maglev structure to ‘accommodate continued growth’ on campus

Old Dominion University officials confirmed this week that parts of the longstanding maglev structure may be demolished.

“Old Dominion University’s campus is marked by physical reminders of our continued evolution and significant expansion,” said university spokeswoman Amber Kennedy. “One of those is the Maglev, which has been a feature of our campus and its grounds for 20 years.

“In order to accommodate continued growth, including the construction of a state-of-the-art biology building, the largest capital project in the institution’s history, portions of the Maglev are being evaluated for demolition.”

The $16 million maglev line was built at the university in 2001. It was intended for student use, but the project was a flop due to ongoing technical issues. Maglev is short for magnetic levitation, a technology that uses magnets to float a train over elevated tracks. The track was later used for research. Now, students reportedly use the remaining infrastructure as a covered passageway as they walk to classes.

Kennedy said officials are assessing how sections of the maglev could be maintained.

“Plans and a timeline for demolition have not been finalized,” she said.

Construction on the new biology building, a $176 million project, is expected to be begin this year and completion is slated for 2026. The building will support the university’s offerings in the fields of biomedicine, ecology and environmental, biomolecular and botanical sciences.

Nour Habib, nour.habib@virginiamedia.com