New Campus Facilities Greet UT Students This Fall

KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee this fall will sport a new parking garage, a new student recreation facility, and more green space, university officials said Thursday.

The new parking garage at Cumberland and 11th avenues is set to open with the fall semester, Mary Lynn Holloway, UT director of Parking Services, said.

The structure will add more than 1,400 new parking spaces at the northeast edge of campus, and accommodate both students and staff.

The garage, which raises the total number of campus parking spaces to about 15,000, connects to the Hill via a pedestrian bridge across Cumberland Avenue, Holloway said.

The university transit system, known as the T, also provides service and transportation from the new garage to the Hill and other parts of campus.

Construction of the new Joe Johnson and John Ward Pedestrian Mall has been slowed by rain, but will be completed early in the semester, Mike Sherrell, executive director of UT Facilities Services, said.

The mall extends roughly 1,000 feet from Volunteer Boulevard to Andy Holt Avenue, between Hodges Library and Melrose Hall to the north and McClung tower and Clarence Brown Theater to the south.

Framing a longtime natural east-west walking route across campus, the mall crests into a large paved, circular area at the east end of Andy Holt Avenue.

Dedication for the new plant biotechnology research building on UT’s agricultural campus is set for October 16.

The new facility, recently completed in the heart of the Institute of Agriculture campus in Knoxville, houses research programs focusing on agricultural and environmental resources, plant breeding and genetics, plant and plant-stress physiology, pest management, molecular biology, and renewable energy.

Labs equipped with the latest instruments will serve more than 40 faculty members and their graduate and postdoctoral students, Dr. Jack Britt, UT vice president of agriculture, said.

The new student recreation facility will feature a fitness area with more than $670,000 worth of new exercise equipment, three racquetball courts, 12,000 square feet of space for aerobics and martial arts, an indoor jogging track and a physical therapy center.

A sports bar and food service will also be available, along with access to an outdoor sun deck.

The grand opening on the recreation facility is set for Friday, Sept. 5, at 3:00 p.m.

The new buildings, walkways and other structures at UT are part of a master plan to reduce vehicle traffic and parking on campus; create more trees, walkways and green space; and eventually make Ayres lawn the symbolic heart of the campus.

The plan also calls for future restrictions on parking on the Hill and at Circle Drive at Ayres Hall and converting the area to a pedestrian plaza, but those plans will not be implemented this academic year.