Liberty Offers Old T.J. Maxx Building For Use As Local Vaccination Center Free Of Charge
Liberty University provided the former T.J. Maxx building located in the Candler’s Station shopping center free of charge to the Virginia Department of Health’s Central Virginia Health District as a large space for a COVID-19 vaccination center.
According to a report from the News and Advance, the space is a nearly 20,000 square foot building featuring an ample space inside. The center is conveniently located near the university, a bus route and US 460 and 29. Initially, Liberty had plans to rent out this facility for $1,000 per month, but University officials later decided to lease the building for free.
“Our President, Dr. Jerry Prevo is particularly committed to helping fight COVID in our community,” Keith Anderson, Liberty’s executive director of Student Health and Wellness said. “He is more than willing to support it through our many resources, assets and personnel.”
Medical professionals have used the large distribution center to give the vaccine to residents of Lynchburg and the surrounding counties since the beginning of February, according to Anderson. He also noted that the vaccination distribution is currently being run by local EMS officials and the Virginia Department of Health and mentioned plans to involve some of Liberty’s nursing and health science students with the work being done at this location.
According to the city of Lynchburg’s website, smaller vaccination distribution centers are operated by the Central Virginia Vaccination Task Force. These locations have been used to prepare and train for distribution in this large facility and for when the vaccine becomes more readily available. Anderson added that Liberty students have helped serve in some of these locations and gained valuable, real world experience that they can carry into their careers.
“Personally, I feel very connected to this project, because it allows our students to be the hands and feet of Christ by serving their community, and it allows our community to be recipients of that service and see Christ through us and our students,” Anderson said.
The News and Advance also reported that the facility is large enough to serve up to 6,000 people per day. According to the website for the city of Lynchburg, the Commonwealth of Virginia is allocating the vaccine in stages. In stage 1a, healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents were given the vaccine. Virginia is currently in stage 1b. This means that frontline essential workers, people above the age of 65, people ages 16-64 with underlying medical conditions, those living in correctional facilities and people in homeless shelters are all eligible to be vaccinated.
For most Liberty students, this means that they will not be able to get the vaccine until those in the preceding stages have all received theirs.
However, Anderson said he is optimistic about the health of Liberty’s campus this semester.
“Because of the diligence of our students, the trend is going down. Following the rules, wearing masks when appropriate and washing hands are making all the difference,” Anderson said.
Allen Moro is a News Reporter.