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Liberty University planning to build shooting range in Campbell County

Liberty University's special use permit they filed in Campbell County for an outdoor shooting range; the university could have it ready as soon as Labor Day 2017 (Marissa Parra)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) - Liberty University is looking into plans to build a shooting range on land it owns in Campbell County.

An agent from the school requested a special-use permit at last week's Board of Supervisors meeting in Campbell County to use 490.52 acres of property with a $3 million budget. The property is located on Camp Hydaway Road across from 42 Lakeridge Drive.

The area is wooded, so Liberty University's Planning Coordinator, Brad Butler, said much of the area would have to be cleared.

According to the proposal, the shooting range would be the first National Rifle Association-approved facility on a U.S. college campus. It would also be the first NCAA certified outdoor shooting range on a college campus that would accommodate all of the Olympic shooting sports.

Liberty's shooting range would be open to the public and to local law enforcement, but it is going to be geared toward students.

Butler said the university plans to model the facility after the Whittington Center in New Mexico.

The proposal filed included a special-use permit from the Campbell County Planning Commission that states Liberty wants to construct a “nationally recognized, full-scale shooting, training and competition center” on its campus.

The outdoor space will include a pistol range, a rifle range, an instructional area, and a three-gun competition range, with future plans for an indoor firing range.

“The project was introduced to the NRA during [Executive Vice President] Wayne LaPierre’s visit to campus last spring,” Len Stevens, spokesperson for the university, told Yahoo News. “They have generously offered their expertise to help us develop it.”

The proposal also listed that the shooting range will include several different types of shooting facilities, as well as classroom space, awards pavilions and storage areas. It also said that the site will be monitored, but not operational, 24/7 and there will be a noise ordinance between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.

Wiley Wilson architectural firm has been hired to help build the gun range, they plan on using the mountain to curb noise.

Liberty did say that no testing has been done about the noise coming from the shooting range, but said that the rifle range is 1,400 feet from the nearest home and faces away from that home.

Phasing of the project will begin in January, after Board approval, with rough grading, including the road and some parking. Liberty hopes to have the gun range built by Labor Day 2017.

In 2011, the university began allowing students, faculty, and staff who have conceal carry permits to have their weapons on campus. Last year, the policy was amended to allow students over the age of 21 to have guns in their dorm rooms; they also need the consent of all of their roommates to carry.

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