50ºF

Liberty University introduces building taking campus and city to new heights

(Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

LYNCHBURG (WSLS 10) - With a $500 million rebuilding plan, construction is full speed ahead at Liberty University. Campus officials attribute the spike in building to the increase in students.

Imagine looking up at a towering 272-foot building. Monday morning, university officials broke ground on the Freedom Tower. When complete, it's expected to be the tallest building in Lynchburg.

But, it's not the only new construction underway on campus.

"If we had anymore construction we wouldn't be able to operate as a college," said college President Jerry Falwell. "We just want to get it done."

President Falwell said nearly 50 percent of campus is under construction. Detours and closed roads leave students navigating from class to class.

"It is a lot and sometimes it can be challenging, because every route to your class changes every day," said sophomore Brittany Cornelius "But, it is really exciting. And, because of the new routes through the campus it keeps you on your toes and you're learning the campus even more."

College officials said this facelift is a much needed change -- with outdated facilities and an influx of students. This year, 95,000 students enrolled and 14,000 currently live on campus.

"We just finished the science hall with dozens of wet labs and the music hall is partially open," said President Falwell. "It's now the largest school of music in the country."

Among the reconstruction is a new student center, two nine-story dorms and blueprints for an expansion of the football stadium.

Campus admission officials and undergrads said they see the additions as an effort to attract more first-year students.

"I'm just hoping that everything grows and that we can reach more people," Cornelius told us.

"To finally see it come to fruition is a real thrill for me," commented President Falwell.

The university's president said the Freedom Tower is slated to be complete come the spring of 2017.