Interview with President Jerry Falwell on Lynchburg's Morning Show (Landmark Tower)
Liberty University recently announced plans for a 252-foot Campus Landmark Tower that will serve as an exclamation point to Liberty’s half-billion-dollar makeover of its main campus. When complete, the tower will be the tallest building in Lynchburg, surpassing the 20-story Bank of the James building downtown.
Atop the tower the university’s replica of the Liberty Bell will be displayed. The bell, which was unveiled in 1976 as part of a bicentennial celebration on Liberty Mountain, is currently located near the Hancock Welcome Center.
“Most major universities are identified by a unique and distinguished campus landmark, with architectural features that set the campus apart from all others and foster immediate recognition. The Rotunda at the University of Virginia and Duke Chapel at Duke University are prime examples,” said President Jerry Falwell. “I believe the new Campus Landmark Tower at LU will soon become Liberty’s architectural trademark.”
The tower’s proposed location is on the north end of DeMoss Commons, a 30-acre complex centered behind DeMoss Hall that will soon contain new academic buildings and a spacious lawn area in addition to the state-of-the-art Jerry Falwell Library and recently constructed lake. The tower will be a critical supplement to Liberty’s academic spaces and contain areas dedicated to academics, special events, and possibly an additional bookstore.
“While academic towers are common features on many college campuses, we believe Liberty’s tower will be unique in several respects,” Falwell said. “First, it will be the tallest building in the Lynchburg region and will be strategically located to complement the university’s new campus commons. Second, the tower will offer some of the nation’s best views — from Liberty’s campus and the city beyond, to Liberty Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains, including the famous Peaks of Otter that, according to Thomas Jefferson, were once thought to be the tallest mountains in the nation when measured from their base.”
While the specifics of the tower are still being finalized, Falwell is committed to the project. He started talking about it six months ago after touring numerous college campuses.
All of Liberty’s new buildings are being designed by VMDO Architects, a firm experienced in designing structures that blend with existing campuses. They were responsible for designing the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, Va., and worked with the University of Virginia athletics department in expanding Scott Stadium.
“Using the same consistent Jeffersonian features will help bring the architectural feel of our campus together,” said Charles Spence, Liberty’s senior vice president for planning and construction.
While architectural consistency is important for the campus, the tower affords Liberty a unique standing in Lynchburg’s landscape. Because of its height, the building will be classified as a high-rise, and the university will have to seek clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration because of the tower’s close proximity to the flight paths for Lynchburg Regional Airport.
Liberty had the proposed location of the building studied, and it was determined that the tower would not interfere with the airport’s flight path.