Liberty University is readying for construction on three sprawling Jeffersonian buildings in the heart of campus, including a 40,000-square-foot student center.
LU already has submitted and received comment on the preliminary site plans, which include demolishing several old buildings attached to DeMoss Hall, building a 100,000-square- foot science building and a 100,000-square-foot School of Music.
The city’s technical review committee made comments on LUs site plan this week in its review of aspects such as adequate lighting and water connections. LU will make the recommended changes to the plan and then submit it to the city’s building inspector.
“It really is going to transform the way the campus looks. It won’t look like the same place when the campus is done,” said LU Chancellor Jerry Falwell Jr.
LU officials foresee breaking ground on the first pieces of the $60 million project — a School of Music and the science hall — this spring. Crews intend to do much of the work while school is out of session. It is expected that all three buildings will be complete by the fall of 2015.
The new science hall will be more than three times of the size of the university’s current science building. Plans call for a three-story building that will mimic the Jeffersonian style of the yet-to-be-completed library.
The School of Music will be comprised of two linked three-story buildings and an auditorium acoustically designed to showcase concerts and recitals.
About 50 percent of the increase in space is needed just to catch up with past growth. Residential student enrollment has gone from just over 5,000 to more than 12,500 in the last decade. That doesn’t include online enrollment, which is more than 75,000.
The new plans for the west side of main campus are in addition to several other construction projects already in the works, from a state-of-the-art library to new residential buildings.
The student center, which is still in the preliminary design stages, will be constructed after the School of Music and science hall. Expected to have three levels, it will be attached to the back of DeMoss Hall. Specifics on the building have not been determined.
Falwell said LU plans to demolish the metal one-story classroom buildings behind DeMoss Hall. They were meant to be temporary, but have been in use for decades and now house the science department, teachers’ education and fine arts. Teacher’s education will be moved to DeMoss Hall, a permanent focal piece of the campus.
“When we’re finished with all of these buildings we’ll have the ability to grow from 12,000 to 16,000 (residential students) just within this first phase,” said Falwell.