New LU Bell Tower Could Impact Lynchburg Airport Departures

Lynchburg, VA - Liberty University is adding a major new building to their campus, a 252 foot tower. The university's president hopes it will be the building that everyone associates with Liberty.

Plans are still very preliminary. School officials have yet to decide on a final design. But an interesting factor, this new, tall tower will be just a few miles from the Lynchburg Regional airport.

In what seems to be a campus under constant construction, a new 252 foot tall Liberty University tower is next on the $500 million docket for the school's expansion.

LU President Jerry Falwell Jr. has pictures, plans, models, and maps for the tower slated to be this school's signature building.

"When people think of Liberty University, they think of that building. A lot of universities have that. University of Virginia, Duke University has the Duke Chapel" he said.

Add Liberty's bell tower, slated for the center of campus, to that list. At its base, a bookstore; work your way up the 14 stories and you'll find classrooms, galleries, and event space, all topped with an observation deck.

"We're tearing down the buildings right now and we'll be doing foundations on the student center in September or October. And the tower, we'll probably break ground in February or March" said Dan Deter, the project Engineer.

If you know the layout of LU, you know a couple miles down the road; they've got a pretty important neighbor.

"Depending on where Liberty will build a structure or a tower along that corridor will impact... our departure procedures" said Mark Courtney, the Airport Director.

Courtney anticipates the tower won't impact airplane approach, but new FAA departure requirements he says could be impacted. An FAA study will determine if a new path for departure will be required.

"That could have an effect depending on the dimensions and width of that new departure corridor" he said.

Falwell said their preliminary studies show that 252 feet would be within FAA requirements. But they have plenty of time to figure it all out, groundbreaking is set for February 2015 we can expect the tower to be complete by the summer of 2016.