Liberty University is nearing the final stages of developing a Master Plan that includes new construction and upgrades to several existing facilities at one of the fastest-growing college campuses in the country.
The administration has been meeting with architects to determine how to best accommodate a growing student body and its academic, athletic, and recreational needs.
Liberty is now the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation, the largest university in Virginia, and the largest Christian university in the world. The university anticipates 16,000 students studying on campus by 2020.
“We have been working with VMDO architectural firm for over three years, and we are getting closer to finalizing our whole campus rebuilding plan,” said President Jerry Falwell. “This is a work in progress and includes short-term and long-range plans that will greatly enhance our offerings for students. The picture is starting to come into focus.”
Liberty is in the midst of a $500 million campus rebuilding, with several new structures that have already been completed, including the Jerry Falwell Library, new baseball and softball stadiums, and a new high-rise residence hall. A science hall is currently under construction and major upgrades have been made to the university’s dining facilities and fitness center (read an overview on newly constructed projects on Page 28).
VMDO recently presented the university’s leadership team with a 3D model of a projected campus plan. It is still in development, and Liberty will have ongoing discussions with architects to make adjustments according to demand.
The proposed changes include efforts to make campus more pedestrian-friendly, with traffic routed away from the main academic areas. Recommendations call for a new pedestrian bridge stretching over U.S. 460. A level greenway is also planned to make it easier for people to walk from main campus to Marie F. Green Hall.
The plan also calls for additional parking garages to make areas more accessible for students living off campus and guests to the university.
New facilities for sports teams are also among the recommendations. A 4,500-seat sports arena on East Campus could serve the women’s basketball team, wrestling team, and men’s and women’s volleyball teams. It could also be used for men’s basketball when smaller crowds are expected for certain games. A new NCAA weightlifting and training facility is also being considered, as well as an expanded hockey arena with nearly 4,000 seats, and a natatorium featuring an Olympic-size swimming pool. The next phase of expansion to the east side of Williams Stadium could accommodate 6,000 more Flames Football fans.
“We have been blessed with the resources to provide state-of-the-art facilities for our students to give them the best ‘big-college’ experience possible,” Falwell said. “These plans are a glimpse of what our students, and those who will attend Liberty in the future, could look forward to.”