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Pedestrian bridge joins upcoming Student Center, Freedom Tower projects

A pedestrian footbridge connecting Liberty University’s forthcoming DeMoss Student Center and Rawlings School of Divinity was installed Thursday afternoon.

Cranes hoisted the approximately 130-foot bridge 35 feet above Reber-Thomas Drive, connecting it to the third floor of the Student Center. On the north end, the bridge was fitted into a giant concrete block — the first visible sign of construction at the site of the new Rawlings School of Divinity and Freedom Tower. The bridge was then bolted to a steel support attached to the Student Center. From the ground to being secured, the process took a little over an hour.

The bridge is just a small part of Liberty’s $500 million campus rebuilding.

The university broke ground last August at the tower site, located near Reber-Thomas Dining Hall. When completed in fall 2017, the 275-foot-tall tower will be the tallest structure in Lynchburg and serve as the focal point of campus — a testament to Liberty’s commitment to prepare students both academically and spiritually. Concrete for the vertical structure will be noticeable to passersby starting in April. Atop the tower will be an observation deck with a 360-degree view and a carillon of bells complementing the university’s Liberty Bell replica, which was unveiled in 1976 in conjunction with the nation’s bicentennial celebration. The base of the tower will house the Rawlings School of Divinity, the word’s largest accredited school for religious studies and ministerial training.

The DeMoss Student Center extends from the back of DeMoss Hall, which has served as Liberty’s main academic building. The center is scheduled to open in the fall. Student clubs, as well as a number of student services, will be housed in the four story, 150,000-square-foot addition. Drywall will soon be complete and equipment for a bowling alley will be installed soon. The bowling alley is among several new offerings, including game rooms, billiards, and an expansive food court featuring a teahouse, burgers, and Mediterranean and Asian cuisine.