Bridging the gap
Bridge connecting student union to the Hill is completed, work on Freedom Tower continues
As Liberty University unveils many construction projects all over campus, one of its current projects is set to be completed just 11 months from now.
The Freedom Tower, which broke ground August 31, 2015, will be the tallest building in Lynchburg, surpassing the Bank of the James.
The building is 275 feet tall and will represent Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity.
Planning and Construction Coordinator Brad Butler said the tower currently stands at approximately 230 feet and they are almost done with the concrete elements of the structure.
Butler said some weather conditions with the wind caused the team to slow down due to safety issues, but the overall progress has been steady.
Butler said all concrete floors to the building have now been installed and the observation level should be finished this spring.
As students have noticed, the bridge from the Montview Student Union to the tower has been completed.
“The bridge will end on the top terrace level of the (Liberty University) School of Divinity,” Butler said.
“It will then continue on as the upper level of the campus walk, which will take the walk from the Commons Quad all the way through the Academic Quad, then all the way to the football stadium.”
When asked what inspired the bridge, Butler spoke of what President Jerry Falwell Jr. envisioned.
“President Falwell wanted to have a pedestrian campus where students could walk from one end of the campus to the other without interacting with vehicle traffic,” Butler said.
Even though the bridge is complete, Butler said it is not open to
the public yet.
“Presently, the bridge is only available for emergency egress from the student center,” Butler said.
“It will open for all January 2018.”
As the tower starts to look completed more and more each day, students have all had unique responses to it.
Aviation student Grayson Battema was a little nervous at first but then felt relieved after flying.
“As an aviation student, seeing a tall building can be nerve-wracking,” Battema said.
“I thought for sure it would interrupt our flight patterns, but after I flew over the school and learned what to do, it became easier to deal with.”
Communication student Abbigail Griffith said some students have been joking about how it reminds them of another tower.
“I have heard so many students call this tower the ‘Eye of Sauron’ from ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies,” Griffith said.
“It gave me a good laugh because if you look at it, it does kind of look like the ‘Eye of Sauron.’”
School of divinity student Timothy Morgan talked about some concerns he had for the tower and what he hopes it will have.
“I think that the Freedom Tower is going to be a really cool building,” Morgan said.
“I just hope that it will have enough classrooms for us all. I would really like all of us to be under one roof so that we can meet people that are all a part of the school of divinity.”
As the Freedom Tower gets closer to its completion date, many students are expectant for the opening of the tower and what it will provide for students in the school of divinity.