Friday, October 24, 2014

Construction changes campus

Falwell provides exlcusive insight into Liberty’s rebuilding project

Development — Liberty’s evolving campus continues to offer new oppurtinities for students. Photo credit: Courtney Russo & Leah Seavers

Development — Liberty’s evolving campus continues to offer new oppurtinities for students. Photo credit: Courtney Russo & Leah Seavers

Liberty University is undergoing massive construction projects aimed at expanding not only the campus, but its influence around the world. With buildings taking shape around Liberty’s grounds, the campus is welcoming incoming students into an atmosphere of change and promise.

As Liberty accommodates new, state-of-the-art facilities as part of the $500 million campus rebuilding project, some structures are taking prominence in the minds of students.

One of these is the new towering dorm, called Commons 1, which replaced the old circle dorms. Students moved into these dorms while the finishing touches were still being made. The Commons 1 features a vast amount of accommodations with more than 1,100 beds being utilized by students in a nine-story tower. Several more are planned, though they differ in size.

Charles Spence, senior vice president for construction planning, noted his time of welcoming students into the new dorm even while personnel were hard at work.

“You know, I was there the whole time when parents were coming in, and students coming in, and they were in love with the place. The parents were so complimentary. I was doing construction work the same time they were coming in, and they’re apologizing, and I’m like ‘No, ya’ll got the wrong idea! I should be the one apologizing!’” Spence said.

Spence also spoke of the close timing between the dorm’s completion and the students’ arrival. Some students were in their rooms while electricians were fixing wireless routers or lighting fixtures.

Another impressive feature of the campus is the new tower planned to be erected in February, according to President Jerry Falwell. The 252-foot tower will have classrooms inside accommodating up to 50 students each, as well as other facilities catering to events.

Falwell’s hope is that it will soon become a staple of Liberty University, offering priceless views from its observation points. The details of the tower are still undergoing finalization.

The parking garage nearing completion is another project that has been at the forefront of students’ minds. With five decks accommodating more than 1,400 vehicles, it will provide much needed parking space to Liberty’s campus.

Falwell spoke about plans to move parking for students in the Hill dorms from the Bailey lot and South Campus to the parking garage.

“The parking garage is going to be open to all Hill dorm students with HL permits immediately,” Falwell said. “All zone 1 permit holders will be able to park in the garage starting right away and the parking garage will also soon feature hourly parking open to all.”

Major projects that have been completed include the Jerry Falwell Library, the new Center for Health and Medical Sciences building, and the vehicular tunnel that replaced the railroad crossing.

According to Liberty’s website detailing the master plan for the campus, the new Science Hall currently being built will more than triple the size of the previous science building. The building boasts four stories and more than 110,000 square feet, according to the website. Work on the new science hall is expected to be completed by fall 2015.

Something that will reward the University in the future is the plan to expand the football stadium. Upcoming plans call for extra seating on the away team end zone, as well as a new tower on the current student section, expanding the stadium to a seating capacity of 25,000, according to the master plan website.

Spence noted the future student section tower would accommodate many services currently occupying the existing tower.

“There’s a floor of suites, a floor for TV operation, and a floor for academic tutoring of athletes,” Spence said.

A new student center will be erected at the back of DeMoss Hall to provide room for activities ranging from bowling to meetings for SGA and clubs. According to Falwell, the student center will be 170,000 square feet. Unlike the fitness centers at LaHaye, this expansive facility will be a place of casual activities for all types of people.

With many new projects being managed and several nearing completion, Liberty’s campus will be difficult to recognize in even the next couple years. One thing is for sure, Liberty University will be a campus with state-of-the-art facilities, towering structures and a student body surrounded by all of the resources they need to succeed in the coming years.

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