Mar 30, 2010
Stadium construction makes progress
by Kelly Marvel
Imagine driving onto Liberty University’s campus and seeing a newly constructed building overlooking the football field that is over 300 feet long and almost 100 feet tall. When the new press box is completed in Williams Stadium on Sept. 4 that is what will be seen by people entering the campus.
The construction on the new press box began in November with the demolition of the old press box. Contractors were able to break ground at the beginning of the spring semester. However, with the 50 inches of snow that Lynchburg received this winter, the construction is a little behind schedule.
“The contractor estimates that they were, as of last week, up to five weeks behind schedule,” Director of Planning and Construction Charles Spence said.
Spence, the contractors and Liberty officials have had to make some changes in their plans in order to make up for lost time. One example of this, according to Spence, is the stair structure for the building. The original plan was that the stairs would be made of poured concrete. They have changed this to be laid brick, which took about two weeks off the deficit. The change also helps the economy in Lynchburg.
“I know our local brick masons are happy to get to work because there are a lot of them that are laid off,” Spence said.
One of the major focuses that the construction team has now is preparing the stadium for the May 15 commencement. This year’s commencement festivities are expected to be the largest Liberty has seen with an estimated 28,000 people.
Four additional seating areas in the corners of the stadium are going to be added to accommodate the large crowds, as well as some temporary bleachers.
“There has been a lot of planning that has taken a lot of energy just to try to coordinate graduation and the construction, and make sure that one is ready for the other and doesn’t interfere with the other,” Spence said. “Graduation is going to happen and we are going to do it in a classy way at Liberty.”
The new press box will be used for a variety of different events, with an 800-seat lecture hall, several banquet rooms and various other press rooms. The building, which will be about 30 feet taller than DeMoss Hall, will also have a new 300 foot long concourse for vendors and shelter for students who walk to and from North Campus.
“We anticipate this to be that really great open environment where people want to hang out, even when there is not a football game,” Spence said. “We have seven home games this year, but it is going to be used a lot more than that. It is going to be a big asset to the university in a lot of ways.”
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