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Students and a professor stargaze at Liberty's new Astronomical Observatory.
Student Life

New facilities broaden recreational opportunities

February 19, 2014

Liberty University students have even more choices when it comes to recreational activities on campus. The university opened many new facilities in the fall, further diversifying its already extensive offerings. For more information on these and other popular activities for students, go to www.Liberty.edu/CampusRec.

Astronomical Observatory — Opened Oct. 19, 2013

During Homecoming Weekend, Liberty University unveiled its new observatory, located on Liberty Mountain near the Equestrian Center.

The approximately 1,000-square-foot facility is equipped with a roll-off roof, which uncovers six mounted 8-inch telescopes that are electronically controlled. There are two exterior pads to mount a 12-inch portable telescope. A 24-inch telescope will top the lineup and have its own dome; it is being custom built and should arrive this spring. According to Dr. Roger Schultz, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, the 24-inch scope will be the largest in the region.

The building also features a 25-seat classroom, which is used for 100- and 300-level astronomy courses. The 100-level general education course launched in the fall. The room is equipped with a smart board, which instructors can use to display images from the telescopes.

Dr. James Van Eaton, who recently retired after serving at Liberty for 35 years, will help teach a weekly lab this spring. Schultz said Van Eaton, who started Liberty’s astronomy program in the 1990s, was instrumental in bringing an observatory to campus.

When it is not in use for classes, the observatory is open to all students for stargazing. It is also open to the community on designated evenings.

Snowflex Tube Runs — Grand opening Oct. 5, 2013

Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, Liberty University’s year-round skiing, snowboarding, and tubing facility, held a grand opening for its four new tubing runs during a Fall Festival on Oct. 5. The facility is open to the public.

Guests had the chance to try out the two new “beginner” runs, which are 80 feet long and reach up to 15 miles per hour. Others could test their mettle at the two “advanced” runs, at either 325 or 375 feet long. Speeds on the advanced runs can reach up to 35 miles per hour.

“These new tube runs add to the wide array of recreational opportunities Liberty University offers not only its students, but the community,” said Drew Sherwood, manager of LMSC. “To be able to enjoy year-round tubing, in addition to skiing and snowboarding, makes our facility a unique attraction for families.”

Admission was free for guests who made contributions to a food drive sponsored by Gleaning for the World to support local food banks.

Sherwood said Snowflex regularly sponsors community events and partners with local charitable organizations.

“It’s one way we can all impact our community, and meet some very real needs.”

For more information on visiting Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre, go to www.Liberty.edu/Snowflex.

David’s Place — Opened Oct. 11, 2013

David’s Place, a new Liberty University campus hot spot, officially opened on East Campus after a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 11. Formerly called the East Campus Clubhouse, the building is now named for David DeMoss, a student who died tragically in a car accident in 1986.

David’s Place is now decked out with several flat screen televisions, comfortable seating areas, a 24-seat movie theater, game room with video game consoles, study/TV areas, billiards room, pingpong tables, and an outdoor pool area with heaters both on the deck and in the water.

David DeMoss was the son of the late Arthur S. DeMoss, for whom the university’s main academic building is named. The DeMoss family, including Arthur’s wife, Nancy, and their seven children, have been loyal supporters throughout the university’s history.

The family decided to honor David’s memory by creating a facility that encouraged the fellowship and fun he is remembered for.

The original David’s Place opened on main campus in 1989 and was a student hangout for several years before serving as headquarters for the Center for Music & Worship. The building was demolished in 2012 to make room for a new baseball stadium. A temporary memorial was featured on the third floor of DeMoss Hall until the new location was renovated.

The walls feature testimonials to David’s memory. His sister, Deborah DeMoss Fonseca, who attended the ribbon-cutting with her family, said that even after all these years, when people heard David’s Place was going to reopen in a new space, letters came pouring in sharing the impact he had had on people’s lives.

Campus Garden — Dedicated Oct. 25, 2013

Liberty University dedicated the Morris Campus Garden on Oct. 25, with a reception featuring appetizers made from its produce.

Located on Liberty’s mountain property about 3 miles from campus, the garden has beautiful views overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains. It includes two “high tunnels” (a type of greenhouse) where a variety of seasonal produce is grown.

As part of the many outdoor recreation options offered through Liberty’s Student Activities Office, the garden gives students the chance to learn how to grow their own food and give back to the community. Half of the produce goes to Reber-Thomas Dining Hall, while the rest is donated to local food banks.

All students are encouraged to get their hands dirty and work in the garden, regardless of major. Volunteer opportunities at Morris Campus Garden can also fulfill Liberty’s Christian/community service requirement.

The garden is named for Henry and Elvira Morris, now deceased, who were both very passionate about horticulture. They were friends of Liberty founder Jerry Falwell, Sr. Members of the Morris family were present at the dedication.

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