Campus Improvements Kick Into High Gear
Significant improvements to the Knoxville campus are underway and will continue throughout this next year, thanks to $11 million from the state for capital maintenance projects, storm insurance settlements, and $12.5 million in campus funds.
Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek had already designated funds to accelerate plans for addressing sorely needed repairs to many campus buildings. Dave Irvin, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Services, said state funds will help the university address even more of its deferred maintenance needs and make needed repairs and renovations to more campus buildings.
A total of $16.5 million will be spent on more than 100 roof projects through this fall. A comprehensive roofing condition study completed this spring allowed UT to resolve insurance claims from the hailstorm of April 2011. State funds are being combined with insurance settlements and university deferred maintenance funding to broaden the scope of roof repair projects. Roofs will be repaired or replaced at South College, Biosystems Engineering and Environmental Sciences Building, Andy Holt Tower, Ceramics Annex, and Kingston Pike Building to name just a few.
At least $3 million will be dedicated to masonry repairs, involving brick and structural cement which needs to be repaired or replaced on as many as ten buildings. The work will help head off other potential problems like what occurred with McClung Tower when concrete sections broke off from the building. Buildings include Andy Holt Tower, Pasqua Nuclear Engineering, Taylor Law Center, Hesler Biology, and the wall along Cumberland Avenue in front of Hoskins Library
Another $4 million will address the campus electrical infrastructure through upgrades to the main substation and replacement of the old underground distribution. These upgrades will insure more reliability and provide the additional power required for new construction coming on line.
Several other university-funded projects will have a big impact for students for the fall semester. The Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) building renovation is on schedule and set to reopen for fall semester. The planned addition of two food vendors and the outdoor seating plaza on the east side of HSS will be completed in early fall.
A large-scale upgrade to Hodge’s Library Commons, funded by student library fees, is also on schedule and the newly configured and furnished space will be ready to welcome students in early September. Students can also look forward to the opening of the new recreation complex on Sutherland Avenue which will be ready next spring semester.
The state budget for fiscal year 2012-13 also included $94 million in state capital funds for renovation and expansion of Strong Hall to add needed classrooms and laboratories. The campus will contribute $18.75 million for the project, which will begin next summer.
Planning is currently underway for a Science Laboratory Facility at Cumberland and 13th avenues, a new academic building at Melrose Hall for academic and instructional support space, and a new residence hall for upper-division students. Planning will soon begin for the demolition of Stokely Athletics Center and the renovation on the Panhellenic Building. For additional project updates, visit conezone.utk.edu.