Construction continues on Williams Stadium in preparation for commencement
With Commencement approaching and an estimated 6,000 graduates to walk, Liberty University Planning and Construction hopes to have Williams Stadium ready.
The stadium is currently undergoing construction with the massive expansion allowing for 6,000 more seats and a new appearance. The expansion will also include more amenities, concessions, restroom facilities and wireless internet throughout the whole stadium.
Vice President of Major Construction Daniel Deter said the construction will not be finished in time for Commencement weekend, but they plan to provide temporary accommodations and remove the construction paraphernalia.
“It will be a soft pause,” Deter said. “About two weeks before Commencement, we will pull everyone back.”
As of right now, the top seven rows of bleachers on the student side have been removed for construction but are expected to be put back in by Commencement. Deter’s team has looked at the logistics and realized they could rent temporary bleachers if needed.
“The East Upper Deck won’t be done by then,” Deter said. “It will be impressive visually but (it) won’t be done.”
According to Deter, the week before Commencement activities begin, the construction team will start removing equipment off the site and putting up screening measures. The overall plan is to have the photographs that graduates and their families take be as clean as possible from construction.
“We understand the student only graduates once, and the parents usually only get to see them graduate once,” Deter said. “We want it to be a good and memorable event for everybody.”
The construction will start back up the Monday following Commencement, to stay on track to their completion date.
Senior Associate Registrar for Student Services and Records Lori Baker anticipates there will be more than 36,000 people on campus for Commencement weekend in May 2018.
“Commencement brings a lot of tradition with it,” Baker said. “We walk the line with keeping that tradition, but also introducing new and exciting things into the weekend.”
Planning never stops for Baker and her team. She plans the logistics for the whole weekend. The fall is when they do most of the planning for each year’s Commencement, and the spring is when they start working on putting things together.
“This is one of the biggest milestones of your life,” Baker said. “To create something that they’ll remember and take with them is something that we strive for.”
Baker is in communication with the construction team to communicate what is being done on both sides. Baker said they do not anticipate the construction to have any negative impact on Commencement this year, but it has hit some minor hurdles.
“The weather has been hurting us lately with the cold and the rain and the mud,” Deter said.
To keep things on schedule, Deter’s team evaluates weather days, trading weather days for weekends, in addition to recovery schedules, if needed.
“As you get closer to the end, you gauge where you’re at,” Deter said. “And if we need to hit the panic button, then we hit the panic button.”
Once completed, the additional 6,000 seats will help with future Commencements held at Williams Stadium, allowing more space for guests of the graduates.
Future Commencement details can be found at liberty.edu/commencment or at facebook.com/libertyuniversitycommencement.