A rendering of the new residence hall. Courtesy of Liberty University.
A rendering of the new residence hall. Courtesy of Liberty University.

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Rendering of the planned parking garage. Courtesy of Liberty University.

Liberty announces plans for new residence hall and parking garage

Liberty University has announced plans to build a 10-story residence hall and five-story parking garage on campus.

Interim President Dr. Jerry Prevo made the announcement during Wednesday’s regular Convocation.

The new 166,908-square-foot residence hall will stand 10 stories tall with 654 student beds (two students to each room, with a private bathroom). The building will connect to Commons III and also feature two resident director apartments. The project could begin as early as January and is expected to be completed by the Fall 2024 semester, the university said in a release.

The new parking garage will be located beside the LaHaye Ice Center (currently the Pavilion Parking Lot) and will hold close to 1,100 vehicles. The university plans to break ground on the garage this spring, with an expected opening in Spring 2024.

Prevo also gave updates on two major construction projects underway on campus — the 120,000-square-foot New Reber-Thomas Dining Hall and the Jerry Falwell Center.

The new dining hall is scheduled to open in August 2023 with the majority of the construction finishing this spring. The building will offer 40% more interior space than the current Food Court at Reber-Thomas, with a peak capacity of 2,700 seats, and will include more entrances than the current building, reducing the time students stand in line. In addition to an outdoor covered patio dining area, the new dining hall will also feature an expanded menu for students, including a gluten-free bake shop.

Rendering of the Falwell Center, currently under construction. Courtesy of Liberty University.

The Falwell Center will tell the story of Liberty’s founder, the late Dr. Jerry Falwell. Rooms and areas within the center will provide space for learning opportunities, concerts, and special events, as well as a rooftop park.

An opening is planned during the university’s 2024 Commencement.

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Ferrum to hold ribbon-cutting for interpretive trail

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Nature’s Writers Trail at Ferrum College is planned at 11:30 AM this Thurs., Nov. 17, at Chapman Pond near Dyer Hall. The community is invited to the event, which will include an opportunity for a guided hike, hot cider and snacks.

The Nature’s Writers Trail is an interpretive trail installation near Chapman Pond on the Ferrum College campus. Sponsored by the Ecotourism and Recreation Leadership programs and involving Ferrum College faculty from English, Environmental Science, Biology and Art, the trail took eight years to complete.

The trail is demarcated by signs featuring quotes selected by 12 faculty from 12 authors who were inspirational to the faculty contributors and influenced their thinking and teaching about nature. Each of the signs focuses on one author and contains a QR code that directs people to a library resource page dedicated to this project. The graphic design for the signs was completed by Assistant Professor of Art Jake Smith. 

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UVA Wise showcased in documentary about Southwest Virginia

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise will be showcased in a new documentary about revitalizing Southwest Virginia that debuts this week.

“Change-makers of the SWVA Coalfields,” which highlights regional trailblazers and leaders, will premier Saturday, Nov. 19, at the Park Avenue Theater in Norton. The screening is free and open to the public. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. and the screening begins at 5 p.m.

UVA Wise Vice Chancellor for Administration, Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives Shannon Blevins is featured in the film, along with the College’s Oxbow Center including the Clinch River Ecological Education Center in St. Paul.

Filmmaker Jan Canterbury explores several key questions including: “Can we really revitalize Southwest Virginia? How can we break down barriers to transform this proud and productive region into one that offers good-paying jobs and social vibrancy while still retaining our kind and true character? Will our children want to stay and raise their family in these beautiful mountains, or uproot in search of a more lucrative life in an urban area?”

The film features conversations with folks from Appalachian Voices, Friends of SWVA, UVA Wise, Ridgeview Robotics team, the Mountain Heritage Museum and Lawrence Brothers, Inc. 

The documentary introduces those regional leaders “who are courageously confronting these challenges and finding creative solutions to re-awaken this powerhouse of energy into a vibrant place that’s drawing new folks, while also enticing our young folks to remember why they love calling this special and unique place ‘home,’” said Canterbury.

“‘Change-makers’ is a positive documentary that highlights both the challenges and strides we’re making in Southwest Virginia to jumpstart a more diverse economy and to give our kids the best opportunity for their future here in this beautiful place we take pride in calling ‘home.’ It’s about us, it’s for us. And it’s a fun film for the whole family and friends to watch together,” said Chad Thompson, marketing coordinator with Abingdon Tourism, in a statement.

For more information, contact filmmaker Jan Canterbury at 703-314-3996 or nutzynomad@gmail.com.