January 26, 2023 : By Office of Communications & Public Engagement
As Liberty University students returned for the start of the Spring 2023 semester last week, they were greeted with continued improvements on several different construction projects around campus.
Liberty Athletics programs, including the men’s soccer and softball teams, began practicing in the new, 75,000-square-foot Liberty Multipurpose Center last weekend. The 75,000-square-foot facility features full indoor baseball and softball diamonds, divided curtains (two different teams can use it at the same time), and space for strength and conditioning teams. The building also houses office space for Athletics support staff, storage space for practice equipment, public restrooms, and a lobby. The center was designed to accommodate large crowd events, such as degree presentation ceremonies during Commencement.
In conjunction with that project, crews have constructed a pedestrian bridge over Regents Parkway and are building a new walkway that will give student-athletes better access to the center from the Bailey Parking Lot near the Liberty Athletic Center.
Other recent upgrades to athletics facilities include five new indoor batting cages, new team room and coaching office space, and a retrofitted heating and cooling system at the Liberty Softball Stadium. In addition, Liberty is currently in the design phase for an interior renovation of the cheerleading building on east campus.
Progress was also made over Winter Break on the New Reber-Thomas Dining Hall. The roof was completed, so the facility is now weather-proof, and all windows have been installed. Crews are actively working on the interior finishes, such as drywall, painting and tile flooring. The two-story, 120,000-square-foot facility will have a peak capacity of 2,900 seats, with an estimated 30 food stations containing various meal options for students. A grand opening is planned for next fall.
One of the largest additions planned at the heart of campus is now underway. Crews officially broke ground two months ago at The Jerry Falwell Center by the Hancock Welcome Center. The new facility will honor the legacy of the university’s founder and Liberty’s commitment to preserving its Christian mission. A massive excavation for the building is nearing completion, and crews will start on the concrete foundations in the next few weeks. The center is expected to open in 2024.
Major upgrades are also being made to campus housing. Liberty is set to break ground this month on the new Commons IV residence hall, to be located between Commons III and the New Reber-Thomas Dining Hall. Commons IV will be an expansion of Commons Housing III, with a “tower” that attaches back to the north side of the existing residence hall. The project is expected to be completed in time for the Fall 2024 semester and will add 654 beds and two new resident director apartments.
Crews are currently installing two new elevators to replace an existing single elevator at the front of the South Tower (Dorm 33) residence hall. The new elevators will shorten the wait time for students living on the upper floors. The project is expected to be completed by April.
Work is also underway on a new hangar at Freedom Aviation at Lynchburg Regional Airport that will be used by the School of Aeronautics for storing flight training planes and Freedom Aviation jets. The university is expanding its fleet due to the rising number of students entering the program. The project is expected to be completed next fall.
Another exciting addition to campus is a seven-story parking deck planned near the LaHaye Ice Center that will hold 1,500 cars. Construction is set to begin in May, after the spring semester has ended, and is expected to open next spring.
Progress is also being made on a major project at the university’s mountain property. Hydaway Lake, located at the Hydaway Outdoor Center, is being expanded from 6 acres to 31 acres. Over the last 12 months, crews have been constructing a dam and are nearing completion. They expect to begin filling the lake for expansion in March. The expansion will open new educational and recreational pursuits for students. In addition to swimming, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and paddle boarding, which are available to all students, the lake could also serve student-athletes from the Intramural Sports, Club Sports, and NCAA Division I Athletics teams.