UT Trustees Approve Building Projects

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee needs nearly $358 million in new buildings, renovations and maintenance over the next two years, a report to the UT Board of Trustees says.

UT President J. Wade Gilley will tell the board Friday that building improvements that include upgraded information technology are a key element to moving UT into the ranks of the nation’s top 25 public universities.

The trustees will consider a capital outlay budget that calls for $276.6 million in state funding for new buildings and major renovations over the next two fiscal years. State-funded capital maintenance projects are listed at $27.3 million for next year.

UT also proposes to spend $53.5 million of non-state dollars for buildings and capital maintenance in fiscal year 2002.

“These projects are vital if Tennessee wants us to enroll top students and make a more significant contribution to the state’s economic development through research,” Gilley said.

“Several of our buildings, particularly at Knoxville, are 75 years old or older. They need renovating and when improvements are made, we must install the computer cabling and information technology students will need for the 21st century workplace.”

The top priority on the state-funded outlay list is $23.5 million to upgrade and expand Glocker Business Building in Knoxville. Second is a $31.5 million College of Pharmacy building at the UT Health Science Center in Memphis.

UT also seeks state funding of $45 million to renovate Ayres and Estabrook halls and the Music Building at Knoxville, $13 million for Brehm Animal Science Building and $9 million for relocation of the dairy farm at the UT Institute of Agriculture. The request includes $7.2 million for a fine arts addition at UT-Martin.

Proposed projects that would be funded by institutional funds include new research centers at Knoxville and Memphis, at approximately $20 million each, and a $2 million hospitality center at Neyland Stadium.

The stadium center will be used to host special guests, families of UT recruits, and other special events, UT Men’s Athletics Director Doug Dickey said. The project is still in the planning stage, but most likely will be built in the stadium’s north section, Dickey said.

The 20 capital maintenance projects range from upgrading heating and cooling systems to roof replacement at UT campuses and institutes across the state.

The board’s requests for fiscal year 2002 will go to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, which makes funding recommendations to the governor for inclusion in his budget.