A power drill hummed loudly and carts carrying furniture thundered down the hallways. Someone exclaimed, “There’s a Torah scroll that needs to be hung in 106!”
These were the normal sounds heard at Elmer L. Towns Religion Hall this week as Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary moved into its new home. Seminary faculty and administrators relocated from Green Hall (formerly called Campus North) and will now share room with Liberty’s School of Religion.
“It’s going to be like the Pentagon — all the leadership together, a strategic command,” said Dr. Elmer Towns, co-founder of Liberty University and dean of the Seminary and dean of the School of Religion.
Towns said the building received about $100,000 in upgrades this summer, including new chairs, lighting and computer stations in most of the classrooms, a renovated student reading lounge, a new Ph.D. seminar conference room, a homiletics lab and a lounge for Liberty’s growing Korean population.
A patio is being planned for this fall on the north end of the building.
“Before, we had this place packed with classrooms,” Towns said. “Now, we want to make it nice for the students when they come in. They have places to eat. … So we’re doing a lot for the students that wasn’t here before.”
Some seminary classes will be held on the third and fourth floors of Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center in new space that was also renovated this summer. Doctor of Ministry classes are being taught in the new Liberty Mountain Conference Center. The Center for Global Ministries is remaining in Green Hall.
The seminary’s move is part of a plan to make main campus a primarily pedestrian campus, with all classes within easy walking distance. Liberty’s Green Hall will serve as the hub for all administrative and support offices for the university. The change has resulted in a reduction in bus routes, which not only saves money but has a positive impact on the environment.
Towns said the transition has been trouble-free.
“I have not heard any complaints. I think everybody has fit in,” he said. “If you keep your eye on the vision -- we are here to train students — and do whatever you’ve got to do to train them … everyone will adapt wonderfully.”
Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary currently has more than 9,500 students, with 8,840 studying online, making it the largest seminary in the world.