Liberty University began demolition Thursday on one of its oldest residence halls, bidding farewell to an important part of its history, but elevating the quality of campus life for students by kicking off a massive housing project that calls for an eight-story high-rise residence tower.
The one-story, 24-room Dorm 4 building opened in spring 1978 and has housed male students ever since. Mark Hine, senior vice president of Student Affairs and a Liberty alumnus, was among the first to live in the building, serving as a resident assistant his senior year. On Thursday, he toured his old residence before demolition began.
“The building was brand new. The furniture was brand new. They were exciting times for Liberty as we watched the halls go up,” Hine recalled. “It’s kind of neat to stand here (in his old room) and come back to my roots.”
Only meant to be temporary buildings when they were constructed in the 1970s, the 16 “Circle” residence halls have long outlived their purpose and will all eventually be torn down as Liberty continues its quarter-of-a-billion dollar campus transformation.
Demolition of Dorms 1-3 will follow in the coming weeks. Liberty students who lived in those halls have relocated to the Quality Inn, now owned by Liberty and adjacent to the school’s Residential Annex on Odd Fellows Road, a short distance from campus. These students will have the first choice of rooms in the new building, Hine said.
Hine, who oversees the Office of Student Housing, has heard nothing but excitement for the new project.
“Everybody I’ve talked to that has actually seen the artist’s rendition of the new residence hall have absolutely been blown away. That building is going to take Liberty University into the future,” he said. “Even though it’s kind of sad to see these old ‘butler’ buildings come down, the excitement for what is going to replace them is absolutely amazing.”
When the project was first announced in October 2012, Chancellor and President Jerry Falwell, Jr. said it would help Liberty “continue to attract the best Christian college students in the nation.”
“God has given Liberty the resources to make this university a better Christian university and we feel we have a responsibility to do it while construction costs are still low due to the poor economy and to do it without delay,” he said.
There are more than 60 construction projects under way across campus, among them the Jerry Falwell Library, a new baseball stadium, a new basketball practice facility, and the Center for Medical and Health Sciences.