Liberty University celebrated the grand opening of its renovated Williams Stadium on Saturday with the football team’s 22-16 upset win over Troy University, which had been leading the Sun Belt Conference. The stadium was expanded and improved in less than a year to support the Flames’ advancement to the NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly known as Division I-A.
Woolpert provided the sports architectural services for the $32 million project and retained Odell Associates Inc. as design architects. The stadium redevelopment included the addition of 6,000 new seats and a press box, a new concourse level and berm, videoboard, restrooms, concessions, camera platforms, road improvements and a host of other amenities, including improved Wi-Fi performance.
“One of the biggest takeaways on this project was that we were able to drastically change the fan experience,” said Andrew Pack, Woolpert’s Education and Athletics practice leader. “We were able to enclose the stadium like a horseshoe by adding a concourse to connect the existing west side to the new eastside, while creating a new promenade gateway on the south entry. The adjustments improved access to seating and vendors and elevated security to support the eclectic variety of sports, outdoor concerts and events that the stadium hosts.”
Liberty is the largest private, nonprofit university in the U.S. with an enrollment of more than 110,000, including a substantial online population. The stadium supports the mission of the university by helping provide the physical structure needed for its students to make important contributions to their workplaces and communities. It is a Christian academic community that ascribes to the tradition of evangelical institutions of higher education.
Pack said the renovations were designed to provide a facility that matches the school’s vision, supported by Athletic Director Ian McCaw, for an intercollegiate athletics program. That shared vision, “Training Champions for Christ,” is intended to provide a world-class student-athlete experience and achieve victory with integrity.
“The stadium reflects the advancement of the football program and the worldwide impact of the university,” Pack said. “We’re pleased when we can apply our AEG (architecture, engineering and geospatial) services to university athletic facilities at all levels to create specific, comprehensive, winning packages for each program.”
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