Crews began demolition of the 25-year-old Hancock Athletic Center today to make way for a new welcome center this fall.
Hancock Athletic Center was completed in early 1986 and has since housed offices for Liberty’s athletics department, as well as a training room, weight room and locker rooms. The 21,000-square-foot building was provided and furnished by longtime Liberty supporters Mr. and Mrs. Art Williams in honor of Mrs. Williams’ parents, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Hancock.
Athletics staff have been temporarily relocated to Williams Stadium. The Football Operations Center and the new Luurtsema Center at the soccer and track and field complex will accommodate the training needs of athletes, as well as new buildings planned by the tennis courts and intramural fields.
“Our hope was to renovate Hancock but the building was designed for a single purpose,” said Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Jr. “The cost to renovate exceeded the cost to demolish and rebuild. I spoke with the original donors last year and they fully supported the decision.”
Charles Spence, Liberty’s director of planning and new construction, said the site is an ideal place for a new welcome center, a sort of “main hub” for all visitor information.
“We’re hoping to make it one of Liberty’s finest buildings ever. It will give a very good first impression for all the visitors coming to Liberty,” he said.
The new location will place Liberty’s guests right across the street from the bookstore and within easy walking distance of the Carter-Glass Mansion and Williams Stadium.
Construction is set to begin March 1 on the new 32,000-square-foot facility, which will house a large meeting room, smaller rooms for meeting with students and parents, a museum and a theater.