Hancock demolition begins
Changes continue as Liberty proceeds towards founder’s dreams
Students might notice a change in the campus landscape as the Hancock Athletic Center is being demolished over the next two weeks.
In its place, a new welcome center will be constructed in time for the 40th anniversary homecoming in the fall of 2011, according to Chancellor Jerry Falwell.
“The site where Hancock was located has always been sort of at our campus front door with a beautiful view of the city and the Blue Ridge Mountains but, after the football stadium was renovated and the new bookstore was built, we decided that it was the perfect location for our visitor/welcome center. Unlike the existing visitors’ center in DeMoss Hall, parking and access are easy for visiting families who are trying to decide if Liberty is the right college for their children. The highest and best use for that site is clearly our visitors’ center, not offices for athletic administration and staff, said Chancellor Falwell. ”
Planning for the welcome center began last fall with hopes that Hancock could transition into the center without a complete demolition. But according to Liberty’s lead project manager, Alan Askew, Hancock was built for a specific purpose and could not be made into what was needed for the welcome center.
“Quality was not a problem, it was the construction of the building,” Askew said. “We would have had to add so much to the existing building to get what we wanted, it didn’t make sense economically.”
The decision to tear down the building was officially made on Jan. 1, 2011.
“Demolition is a lengthy process,” Askew said. “I think a lot of people thought we would just use implosion or explosion, but that isn’t how it works.”
Complete demolition of the building will take approximately two weeks, including the removal of all debris.
“(Demolition) isn’t that dramatic,” Askew said. “We will work our way across the building just tearing down the sections.”
The goal is to begin construction of the welcome center on March 1 to ensure completion by Homecoming Weekend in the fall, according to Askew.
“Next fall is the deadline,” Askew said. “The chancellor wants it done by the 40th year celebration, and it will be done.”
The offices that were once housed in Hancock have been moved to the Mezzanine level of the Williams Stadium Tower temporarily. A new training room has been constructed next to the Tolsma Indoor Track Center to replace the one in Hancock, according to Todd Wetmore, assistant athletic director for communications.