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Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre

Over the summer Liberty University announced that it is terminating some 50 programs of study in favor of 23 new programs, reducing the number of programs from 290 to 263 [link]; I don’t really have an opinion on this: universities do this from time to time, etc. and I can’t guess whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing without a list of the programs that have been eliminated. Unfortunately the Liz Barry article at the link above doesn’t include lists; doing so in the print edition of the News-Advance would be something of a typesetter’s nightmare anyway.

While looking for the lists of new and sunset majors I stumbled across a press release from Liberty meant to set the record straight on a number of things, including how much public money it receives and what it does with it [link]. This quote jumped out at me:

Liberty has also built a unique artificial ski slope – the only one of its kind in North America – that is used by Liberty students as well as ski enthusiasts from Central Virginia and around the country.

This is a reference to the Snowflex Centre [link]. It dominates the peak of Candler’s Mountain, and is visible from almost anywhere in Lynchburg; if you’re in the neighborhood I’d recommend seeing it from a connector road called Simon’s Run, near Wards Ferry Road, where you can see it framed by woods on both sides. Sadly I didn’t have time on my most recent visit to snap a picture for posterity.

When Liberty installed the Monogram [link] several years ago I didn’t think anything could be more hideous. The monogram isn’t just gaudy; it’s lopsided, and if my eyes don’t deceive me it isn’t aging well; its white background appears to be turning beige, meaning that at some point in the future it will need to be repainted or Liberty will need to change its colors to red, beige, and blue. But I digress.

I realize lots of universities have big ugly things on their grounds, and they’re treated with a mixture of kindness, nostalgia, embarrassment, and contempt, but I am tempted to suggest that the Monogram and the Snowflex Centre are the sorts of things Charles Foster Kane might have had at Xanadu [link] if he’d had less time, less money, and less taste.

  1. October 19, 2011 at 6:01 am

    I have always thought that the architecture at Liberty was a sad thing. Kind of like what you get at the home of a poor person who wins the lottery. Remember the dad in the movie Christmas Story who wins the lamp shaped like a leg and thought it was beautiful? A mishmash of the functional and the gaudy. Jerry Jr. seemed to have a greater aesthetic sensibility, having had a role in the preservation of historic buildings in Lynchburg. But he inherited an abomination, whose college campus was army surplus quonset huts in Springfield, MO.. Take the courtyard, or whatever they are calling it now. When I got to Liberty in 1984, this was a great feature. A decent greenspace with functional buildings on two sides and the gym on a third. Then they closed that off with the DeMoss bldg, and then started putting all kinds of crap in the greenspace, cluttering it so that now it looks the beach at Normandy on D-Day.

    AND THEN THEY BUILT THAT HIDEOUS SECOND FLOOR ONTO DEMOSS. That was the abomination of desolation.

    • October 19, 2011 at 8:13 am

      One of the professors I spoke to said the old academic buildings, where I took all my math and science classes, are scheduled for demolition, and will be replaced by a grassy courtyard. As much as I appreciated those buildings back in the day I can’t say I’ll be sorry to see them go. And I don’t miss the fifty state flags on the quad.

      There were drainage problems in DeMoss when I was there in the Eighties, and the corner closest to the Vines Center still leaks. The library is a dank nightmare, an even less inviting place than it was when I was there; I was glad to hear that Liberty is building a new library. I’m hopeful that the new library will be something to be proud of.

      I am hopeful that under Jerry Jr’s care the campus will eventually start to take shape. He has a couple of advantages over the previous administration, in that he has a massive budget and fairly predictable revenue stream. The whole campus has a sort of cramped feel, and I’m not sure how that can be fixed.

  2. andrew
    October 19, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    hi im a current student who has by some odd from possibly relating to an interest in reformed theology and partly due to my deep deep interest in everything relating to my school. i don’t find snowflex ugly. the monogram on the other hand, ive just learned to ignore. the circle and everything behind demoss will be compeltely gone in 5 years replaced with non-ugly things that cost 150 million dollars. id say more but i must go to class.

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