LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Liberty University plans to add a 125,000-square-foot arena to its Lynchburg campus.
A spokesperson for Liberty University says the new ‘Liberty Arena’ will provide additional space for sporting events, concerts, and other events.
The new arena will be attached to the Vines Center and be used mainly for volleyball and basketball games. It will accommodate 4,000 (with bleacher, club, and loge seating options) and up to 4,500 people with floor seating. Men’s basketball will continue to play in Vines when attendance is expected to be above 4,000.
“Liberty Arena will provide our teams with an intimate environment and tremendous home court advantage,” said Ian McCaw, Liberty’s director of athletics. "Flames fans will enjoy the arena’s modern amenities, including premium seating and hospitality areas.”
University President Jerry Falwell Jr. announced the plans last week at the quarterly Town and Gown meeting between city and local college officials. The school plans to open the arena by the first basketball game in 2020.
Construction will begin this fall.
In addition, the university says a grand entrance to the arena will greet guests along University Boulevard. Fans can also enter the building from the campus lawn.
According to Trey Falwell, Liberty’s vice president of university operations, the primary need for the facility is to eliminate spending countless man-hours and resources setting up and tearing down the stage and floor seating to accommodate both Convocation and sports events.
“This arena will allow us to leave the Convocation stage in place for much longer periods of time since sports events will not need the Vines Center, except on special occasions,” he said. “Another benefit is that basketball and volleyball will have a more exciting atmosphere in the new arena. Crowds that size will be more engaged because of the close proximity to the event and to each other.”
For Liberty, the new arena is the continued buildup of its athletic facilities, including a $29 million indoor football practice center and a $20 million natatorium in 2017.