Building the future

New construction projects include science hall, music center and Commons II

High Rise — Students recently moved into the new Commons II residential hall. Photo credit: Leah Seavers

High Rise — Students recently moved into the new Commons II residential hall. Photo credit: Leah Seavers

Liberty continued its $500 million campus improvement plan this summer as new facilities and a housing location made progress to accommodate the school’s growth.

The Science Hall was completed this summer, welcoming new students for fall 2015. The Center for Music and the Worship Arts and the newest residential building, Residential Commons II, are still under construction, though sections of each of the buildings are already in use. Last school year, crews began construction on what will be the Student Center behind DeMoss Hall. Completion is scheduled for fall 2016, according to Dr. Mark Hine, senior vice president for Student Affairs.

The first three levels of the Science Hall are dedicated to the department of biology and chemistry, while the terrace level houses the department of health professions.

Students began classes in the facility during the spring 2015 semester, and Dr. David DeWitt, chair of the department of biology and chemistry, said the building was fully completed just a few weeks before students returned this year.

DeWitt noted how the hall helps complement the science department’s growth with additions like the 300-seat auditorium while providing more research opportunities for students with the six new hands-on research labs for the department of biology and chemistry. DeWitt is confident that the department is continuing in the right direction.

“We have a variety of projects. We have students that are working on projects related to … Alzheimer’s disease, algae biofuels, and chemical synthesis,” DeWitt said. “We have people doing field research as well. This building demonstrates the commitment of the university to scientific research and preparing students for science and health related careers.”

The Center for Music and the Worship Arts is expected to be fully completed in time for the spring 2016 semester, but students and faculty are already able to use one wing of the facility. Liberty University News Service reports that the Center features 50 practice rooms and a 1600-seat concert hall and auditorium.

Zachary Monroe, a junior in the artist development program in the school of music, has three classes in the new building this semester and said Liberty is providing music students with the tools they need for success.

“It’ll give me a lot of the resources I need, and (the additional practice rooms) will really help with the practice I need,” Monroe said.

One of the most anticipated additions is the new recording studio.

“I’m super excited about the recording studio. It’s really at the professional level and will give us and the sound technicians the opportunity to hone (our) craft,” Monroe said.

The first section of Residential Commons II opened this fall and is already home to hundreds of students, and the second wing is expected to open in time for the upcoming spring semester. According to Liberty University News Service, Residential Commons II will house approximately 1,000 students when completed. It stands next to Residential Commons I, which first opened in the fall of 2014.

The Student Center, located directly behind DeMoss Hall, is scheduled to be completed by the time students arrive next fall.

“It is a continued effort to add ‘living room’ hang out space for students,” Hine said. “(It is) a place they can go meet with friends, socialize, eat, (and) rest.”

Hine said the Student Center will provide those opportunities to students with a new bowling alley, several dining options and a large banquet hall.

After adding 4,000 new undergraduate students this year for a total of 14,000 students residentially, Liberty’s new residence halls and facilities are making a way for the school’s continued expansion.

Clarke is a copy editor.

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