KNOXVILLE—In just one month, the University of Tennessee’s main visitor parking will be moved and a portion of Andy Holt Boulevard will close permanently—two large-scale changes needed to begin the new Student Union project.
The Student Union project, which is expected to cost about $160 million and which will be funded entirely by student fees and by the revenue-generating operations in the University Center, will take at least four years to complete. UT is planning for challenges that pedestrians and motorists will encounter through the center of campus.
UT has launched Cone Zone, a website and signage program to highlight this and other construction project directions, road closures, pedestrian pathways, and other information for the campus community and visitors.
Demolition of the University Center parking garage begins March 17. Visitor parking will open March 17 in the Volunteer Hall garage on White Avenue. Also on March 17, Andy Holt Avenue—between Volunteer Boulevard and Phillip Fulmer Drive—will close to commence infrastructure work. The road will not reopen because plans call for extending the Joe Johnson and John Ward Pedestrian Walkway to an open pedestrian plaza that will ultimately extend to the Hill.
The current University Center will remain open during the first two years of construction. During construction, the main UC entrances will be the east entrance off Phillip Fulmer Way and the north entrance facing Cumberland Avenue. The Money Wall, along the current UC garage, is also closing but some banks will move ATM machines inside the UC before students return to campus following spring break.
“Construction of the new Student Union will cause some headaches for all of us. We’re going to do everything we can to minimize the inconvenience and keep the community informed about the progress of the project,” Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek said. “In the end, the new Student Union will be well worth the wait and the temporary challenges presented by the construction.”
The new building is being funded entirely by student fees and by the union’s revenue-generating operations such as the bookstore and dining establishments. It will be nearly double the size of the current university center and provide a larger auditorium, more programming and meeting space, a larger book and technology store, and more dining options and seating, along with other amenities.
Special Instructions for Campus Visitors
People visiting the University Center, the east side of campus, or the Hill, will need to park in Volunteer Hall and cross Cumberland Avenue at James Agee Street. The Volunteer Hall Garage is located at 1525 White Avenue and lies between 16th Street and James Agee Street. Campus officials recommend that visitors to the south and west side of campus use the Cumberland Avenue and Neyland Drive entrances. Short-term (45-minute limit) visitor parking is also available at Circle Park.
Handicapped parking near the University Center is in Staff Lot 9, the Cumberland Avenue side of the Walters Life Sciences Building, and at Volunteer Hall Garage. The T- Access (pdf), for persons with disabilities, runs from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Call 865-974-4080. The Volunteer Garage is also already part of the “T” North/South route.
More Changes Set for Summer
The project has two phases. The first involves a new bookstore, Career Services office space, dining facilities, and other office and programming space.
The larger facility will extend the building to the west and south. Demolition of the former Student Counseling Center, 812 Volunteer Blvd., Temple Court, and Aconda Court should begin in late May.
Also in late May, a portion of Phillip Fulmer Way—from Cumberland Avenue to Andy Holt Avenue—will close until mid-August, and several pedestrian bridges from the current UC Plaza will be disassembled.
A new traffic light will also be installed at the corner of Phillip Fulmer Way and Peyton Manning Pass to accommodate increased campus traffic.
C O N T A C T :
Amy Blakely (865-974-5034, firstname.lastname@example.org)