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Liberty University begins dramatic reconstruction of campus

LU is spending 120-million dollars to tear down and rebuild many of the school's residential and academic buildings

July 06, 2011|Tim Saunders | Reporter/Lynchburg Bureau Chief

LYNCHBURG, Va. — A major face-lift is underway at one of the area's largest schools.

Liberty University is tearing down a huge portion of its campus, making way for more students and a whole new look.

"We've just decided that now is the time to update our campus," said LU Chancellor Jerry Falwell, Junior.

Many structures at LU are metal buildings that look more industrial than academic.

"We have a large group of buildings that were built in the 1970's, in a big rush," said Falwell.

They were built quickly to match the pace of L-U's rapid expansion.  With more 12,000 students on campus now, school leaders say it's time for a bold new look.

"For years, we went for quantity," said Charles Spence, LU's Director of Planning and Construction.  "For the last four or five years, we've really changed and stepped up our ballgame for an overall quality."

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LU is making 120-million dollars worth of changes to its campus over the next few years.

The project will remove many of old, smaller buildings.  A group of one-story dorms will be torn down and replaced with eight-floor, residential towers.  Each will have a polished, collegiate look, built in the architectural style of Thomas Jefferson.

"That was architecture my dad loved," said Falwell, speaking about his father and founder of LU, the late Jerry Falwell, Senior.

LU is also adding a large lake and new library.  Parking lots are being moved, making way for more green space.  And many of L-U's academic buildings will be torn down and rebuilt, creating room for a lawn Falwell says will be larger than the one at his alma-mater, the University of Virginia.

"We just want to make a beautiful place for students to study and to enjoy college," said Falwell.  "It's just the right time to do it."

Falwell expects the changes to be made in stages over the next ten years.

He hopes the additions will create room for more students, adding that he wants on-campus enrollment to top 20,000 by the end of the decade.

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