Campus Heats Up with Summer Improvements

 
Work continues on the new Student Union.

Work continues on the new Student Union.

With summer school and new student orientation well underway, construction and beautification projects are in full swing throughout campus.

Dave Irvin, associate vice chancellor for Facilities Services, said the university plans months ahead to take best advantage of the reduced campus population in June and July. A large focus is placed on sprucing up classrooms, buildings, and grounds. Extensive work is being performed in key academic buildings.

The replacement of Andy Holt Tower’s brick facade will conclude within the next month. Next steps will involve making some aesthetic improvements to the walkway that connects Andy Holt Tower to Circle Park. In addition to large-scale projects like Strong Hall and the demolition of Stokely Athletic Center, workers are making improvements inside and outside more than seventy-five campus buildings.

Improving Learning Environments

The Art and Architecture Building is getting a significant upgrade to its classrooms; studios; and electrical, heating, and cooling systems. The modernization will create new collaborative learning environments and advanced design laboratories along with formal and informal meeting spaces. The project will also upgrade the building’s technology and furnishings. A new Student Service Center will be added along with new student breakout labs, state-of-the-art digital panel displays for collaborative projects and 400 new student workstations.

More than sixty offices have been moved from Henson Hall to Dunford Hall. Henson is set for renovations to improve functionality and modernize classrooms and office space. The project involves adding a student lounge and a workroom and lounge for faculty and staff. The renovation will conclude next spring.

Classrooms and labs also are being renovated in the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Building; Nielsen Physics Building; Alumni Memorial Building; Dabney-Buehler Hall; and Ferris Hall, among others. Facilities Services workers are painting the interior common areas of the Bailey Education Complex and Claxton Education Building. A large-scale interior painting is also planned for the Jessie Harris Building.

More than thirty buildings are being re-roofed, including Hess Hall; Hoskins Library; Burchfiel Geography Building; the Science, Engineering, and Research Facility; Temple Hall; the Humanities and Social Sciences Building; College of Nursing; and the Communications and University Extension Building. The Student Aquatic Center and Plant Biotechnology Building were recently re-roofed. Morgan Hall and the Tickle Veterinary Teaching Hospital on the Agriculture Campus will also soon get new roofs.

Hodges Library is also abuzz with several upgrades, including completion of its complicated multilevel roof. Nearly every floor is being re-carpeted and more water bottle filling stations are being installed. Starbucks will be renovated and new internal signage will be installed throughout the building.

Improvements Around the New Student Union

The new Student Union project has brought about several other exciting improvement projects. The new Student Union pedestrian bridge is on track to open in August. The bridge will restore a sorely needed pedestrian link from Volunteer Boulevard, the Johnson-Ward Pedestrian Mall and the Haslam Business Building to the Hill. The bridge’s ramps will enhance accessibility to the Hill by way of the Austin Peay Building.

Staff Lot 9 improvements are underway and should be finished in mid-August. The west side of the lot is being leveled out, repaved and restriped so that it will be ready to serve as the primary visitor parking for the Student Union. The lot is getting new lighting and landscaping. A retaining wall will be built along Phillip Fulmer Drive.

Beginning this fall, the landscaping adjacent to the Claxton Education Building—called Blueberry Falls—will be extended to integrate with new outdoor space planned for the Student Union. Blueberry Falls also will add a new direct pedestrian route from Volunteer Boulevard to Phillip Fulmer Way. The extension will feature a water cascade along the length of the greenway, new seating and designated bike parking.

Great Additions for Students

Furniture is now being moved into the Fred D. Brown Residence Hall. The new residence hall opens to students this fall and will house close to 700 students. It is the first new hall to be built on campus in more than forty years. It also will have a Subway and Tortilla Fresca that will be open to all members of the campus community.

Students will soon have a new place to eat and shop on Cumberland Avenue. Renovations are underway on the two buildings that once housed McMillan’s, Dynasty Express, and Rocky Top Books. UT purchased the buildings several years ago. Workers are now renovating two floors of the former McMillian’s building for the Vol Shop, which will sell apparel and other merchandise. The Seventeenth Street side will accommodate a new Panda Express and Raising Cane’s eatery.

Converting the Steam Plant

The conversion of the steam plant to natural gas is well into its first phase. It will be a year before the smokestacks come down, but progress continues with dismantling and removing the plant’s coal-fired boilers. A new natural gas boiler will take their place. Fully converting the plant to natural gas will allow the campus to decrease emissions and lower fuel costs.

For additional information on current projects, visit the Cone Zone.

C O N T A C T :

Karen Simsen (865-974-5186, ksimsen@utk.edu)

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