November 3, 2017 : By ajmenard - Liberty University News Service
Liberty University held a grand opening ceremony for its sparkling new 60,000-square-foot Liberty Athletics Center on Friday, hosted by the Liberty Athletics Department and Flames Club.
Several members of Liberty’s administration, including President Jerry Falwell, Director of Athletics Ian McCaw, Associate AD for Development and Executive Director of the Flames Club Bob Good, and Provost and Chief Academic Officer Ron Hawkins, joined Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance CEO and Chief Economic Development Officer Megan Lucas in addressing the crowd from the front steps of the facility, which is situated behind Osborne Stadium and the Matthes-Hopkins Track Complex and near the Liberty Baseball Stadium. Members of Liberty’s Board of Trustees were also in attendance.
Falwell thanked McCaw and the rest of the Athletics staff for the vision they had for the new facility.
“I think this facility is going to help propel Liberty Athletics to a whole new level very quickly,” he said. “We are very blessed, and we thank God for the resources to allow us to build this building.”
The spectacular facility integrates academic study areas with state-of-the-art rehabilitation, strength and conditioning facilities, academic and administrative offices, a strength and conditioning equipment room, and a student-athlete refueling station.
“The Liberty Athletics Center is going to be integral as we seek to fulfill and realize our vision, which is to Train Champions for Christ, provide a world-class student-athlete experience, and achieve victory with integrity,” McCaw said. “What a spectacular facility to help our student-athletes develop academically, athletically, spiritually, and socially. That’s exactly what’s going to happen in this facility in the days and years to come. I, too, want to thank President Falwell for his vision, leadership, and support to make this project a reality.”
Charlottesville-based VMDO Architects was in charge of the project. It created a modern design similar to other new buildings on campus, with innovative integration. The terraced, three-story structure was built into the existing hillside, with its architecture curving along with the bank of the outdoor track.
“Congratulations, President Falwell, your team, your leadership, you continue to surprise and dazzle us every day, and we couldn’t be more grateful for what you bring to this community,” Lucas said. “Liberty University is amazing. I have been to the University of Alabama, I have been to the University of Tennessee, I have been to the University of Nebraska, and I promise you, nobody takes care of their athletes more holistically than Liberty University.”
Designed to be the central hub for Liberty Athletics, the facility includes an athletic training facility for short- and long-term rehabilitation of Liberty’s NCAA Division I student-athletes. The three-story building also houses a weight room designed specifically to meet the needs of Liberty’s Olympic sports student-athletes and a prominent refueling station located in the building’s main entrance for use by Liberty’s Sports Nutrition staff.
The Liberty Athletics Center’s location — at the heart of Liberty’s athletics corridor — will make it easily accessible for all student-athletes.
Matt Anthony, who serves as associate director of Liberty’s Academic Affairs for Athletics department, facilitated tours of the third floor, home to the academic advising and recruitment areas.
“Sports performance and academics, it’s a great marriage of those two,” he said. “We’re open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day, and if students need additional help with tutorial support, there are different villages. It’s set up as a neighborhood, with a business area, a math area, so students can meet with individual tutors, a computer lab at the far end and then we have a recruitment wing on this end.”
The second floor houses administrative offices for McCaw, Athletics Administration, Athletics Communications, Athletics Compliance, Athletics Marketing, Athletics Broadcasting and Video Services, and Internal Operations.
“It really is a facility that meets all of our needs and it will be a huge asset in terms of recruiting the next generation of Liberty student-athletes, so we couldn’t be any more excited,” McCaw said. “It’s also going to be the hub of our administrative staff and it’s been a huge morale booster to get all of our staff together and moved into this incredible facility. It’s a great time to be a Liberty Flame, and we’re certainly grateful for the blessings that God has poured out in giving us this new facility.”