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Building for the future

May 20, 2013

Major construction projects for the $400 million rebuilding of Liberty University’s campus are in full force, but the school’s planning and construction team is still hitting the drawing board every day, revealing future projects that will enhance the educational, recreational, and social opportunities available at the world’s largest Christian university.

The school has adopted a new master plan, charting the course for its future growth as an expected 16,000 students call Liberty’s campus their home by 2020. The drawing below shows major construction projects already under way or about to begin around Liberty’s main academic corridor, but there are many more projects being planned throughout campus and on Liberty’s mountain property, so we’re offering you a sneak preview of what’s to come. Many of the renderings are only conceptual drawings, so the end result may vary from what is shown.

The newest structures taking shape, including the $50 million Jerry Falwell Library named for Liberty’s founder and the new Center for Medical and Health Sciences to train Liberty’s first physicians, are solid testimonies of God’s blessings on the 42-year-old university. Together with university planners, administrators are not only working to create a unified architecture for the campus, they are also staying in tune with students’ needs as academic and athletics programs expand. Talk with many students today and you will no doubt hear that it is an exciting time to be at Liberty University.

Future projects

LaHaye Student Union expansion

A 67,000-square-foot addition, along with a 19,000-square-foot renovation of existing space, is being planned at the LaHaye Student Union in Green Hall. A new exercise and workout room will include the latest in cardio equipment with a greater variety and quantity of offerings for all fitness levels. A mezzanine level with exercise equipment will face a panoramic view of Liberty Mountain. The project also includes racquetball courts, a new rock climbing wall, and more multipurpose areas for group exercise classes, allowing the university to add to its wellness offerings for faculty and staff. The Tilley Student Center, located inside LaHaye Student Union, will also see some upgrades, including more food court options and larger space for Student Activities events and concerts. The project is expected to start this summer and be completed by Fall 2014.

Olympic Sports Complex

This new multipurpose athletic complex will be built near U.S. 460 at the north end of East Campus.It will include an Olympic-sized 50-meter pool and diving well. Athletics programs currently using the indoor track at Green Hall will move to an indoor track in the new complex. The wrestling and men’s and women’s gymnastics teams will also be housed there.

School of Music

Liberty launched the School of Music last fall, the seventh largest in the country. Construction has just begun on its new home along Liberty’s main academic corridor, across the courtyard from the Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center and adjacent to the new Jerry Falwell Library. Two linked, three-story buildings spanning 105,000 square feet will include a fine arts auditorium seating up to 1,200 guests. The building is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015.

School of Aeronautics hangar

A new hangar at the Liberty University School of Aeronautics facility at Lynchburg Regional Airport is being built to allow pilots to take advantage of new ramp space currently being constructed there. The 100-by-140 hangar will be used by the school for a variety of purposes, including storing aircraft and maintenance operations. It will also benefit Freedom Aviation, the flight operations center and aviation business used by the SOA.

Prayer/Wedding Chapel

A new prayer chapel is being planned near the south residential quad. Seating about 225, the new chapel will not only be a place for students, faculty, and staff to pray daily, but will also become an additional venue for weddings, which can be held inside or outside under an atrium. There is no expected start date for this project, but planners hope to have it constructed in the next three years.

NCAA softball field

A new NCAA-regulation softball field is planned near the Hershey-Esbenshade Tennis Courts below Green Hall. The facility will include locker rooms and plenty of stands for spectators. It is expected to be started by the end of the year.

DeMoss Hall expansion

Serving as Liberty’s main academic building since the 1980s, the Arthur S. DeMoss Learning Center will be expanded to provide more lounge space for students, as well as a food court. This three-level, 40,000-square-foot campus center will be built onto the back of the building. As the last piece of the DeMoss Commons project, expansion won’t begin until after the School of Music and Science Hall are complete.

Residence Halls

The first of six new residence halls being built at the site of the former Champion Circle halls is under construction. The eight-story tower is expected to be completed in time for the 2014-15 school year. It will provide 1,200 beds, enough to replace all 16 of the original halls built there in the 1970s. Within a decade, the new residence halls will be able to house Liberty’s East Campus population (2,800 students) in addition to the entire Circle and Residential Annex populations.

Liberty Mountain projects

Liberty’s expansive mountain property, extending into Campbell County, lends itself to a variety of recreational opportunities. A new community garden, including greenhouses, is being built, where students can participate in growing their own produce. A high-tech observatory for star-gazing, with as many as six research-quality telescopes, including a 24-inch main scope, is also under construction for recreational and academic use. A new clubhouse for Liberty’s NCAA golf team is being built near the equestrian center and motocross track.

Science Hall

The new, three-story, 100,000-square-foot Science Hall will more than triple the size of the university’s previous science building. Work is already under way and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015.

Athletic Practice Facility

A new indoor practice facility is being planned at the site of the David’s Place parking lot, behind the new baseball stadium and outdoor track. It will include a weight room and training room for all NCAA sports located in the athletics corridor — baseball, football, outdoor track, and soccer. The project is set for a Fall 2013 start.

Vehicular tunnel

Currently under construction on the west side of campus, a four-lane tunnel under the railroad tracks will connect Regents Parkway, Liberty’s perimeter road, to Wards Road, emptying into an intersection near Harvard Street. It is expected to be operational by the end of the year and fully complete by 2014. The project also calls for sidewalks in the tunnel. It will greatly improve traffic flow on campus and ease congestion on Wards Road, the retail corridor in the city. Though still in the discussion stages, it could pave the way for a parking garage (see below).

Football stadium expansion

Future plans call for an expansion to the student section (east side) of Williams Stadium, bringing seating capacity to 25,000.

Parking garage

A new parking garage is being considered for commuter students at the site of the old baseball stadium. Proposals call for a five-level garage that could hold 2,500 vehicles. Liberty has not been able to plan a parking garage on main campus in the past, due to the road system there being inadequate to handle the traffic flow it would generate. The new vehicular tunnel at Wards Road will now make the garage possible, as well as a four-lane road running from the tunnel to Liberty University Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

Graduate campus

The new Center for Medical and Health Sciences now under construction (see more information on Page 34) will be the first building on Liberty’s new professional/graduate campus. Administrators are considering new academic buildings at the Campbell County site for Liberty’s graduate programs, including the A.W. and Lois Overton Graduate School of Business, Liberty University Baptist Theological Seminary, and Liberty University School of Law. Nearby off-campus housing is also being planned.

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