Construction lurked around every corner of campus this summer.
But, it's the best time of year for construction, according to Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Services Dave Irvin.
“One of the advantages of summer of course is since there is fewer students and fewer activities, it allows us to get in and do a lot of projects that we obviously can’t do during the normal academic year,” Irvin said. “Everything from simple maintenance things to stripping floors and doing in-depth cleaning to more complex projects, whether those are mechanical projects or classrooms.”
Eighty-six different campus locations received care this summer, including work on classrooms and dorms, turf replacement in Circle Park and the construction of big-name buildings on campus.
“We’re not forgetting the existing buildings,” Irvin said. “Many of our folks will be in existing buildings. They won’t get a chance to move into a new building, so it’s important that we upgrade those as well.”
Student Union, Phase II
The new section of the Student Union seems to be on everyone's mind, and Irvin says its progress is coming along nicely.
“It’s going to be a great facility,” Irvin said. “It has a beautiful living room that looks out toward Cumberland, some great meeting rooms, a lot of space for student organizations.”
Along with the open spaces, the new section offers Rising Roll, a dining service similar to Panera, and Steak 'n Shake. A ballroom will also be made available, and many parts of campus will move to the building once it opens.
“(It's) just the kind of space to meet and hang out and interact that we’ve never had as a campus,” Irvin said. “I think it will really make a huge difference to the heart of this place.”
The project is on track and is set to open at the beginning of the spring semester in January.
Auditorium, in the balcony, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Auditorium, on the floor, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Auditorium ground level, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Auditorium ceiling, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Ball room 1, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Long hallway, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large hole for sculpture UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
East to West Northside corridor, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
NorthEast Entrance, looking down Northside Corridor, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Kitchen near ballroom, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
New Food Court, Steak 'n Shake, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Window looking toward Haslam courtyard, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Overlooking Law building, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Upstairs Main corridor, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Office area, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Office Entrance, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Long hallway, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Looking into food court area, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large Skylight windows, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large wall, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large Office, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large Stairwell Looking north toward Law building, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large Office area 1, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large Office area 2, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Food court area, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large Hallway, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large room, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large hole in ceiling, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Ball room 2, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large hole, northside, top floor, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Large hole and hall, UT Student Union Tour - August 7, 2018
Student Union Phase II, renderings
Lake Avenue Parking Garage
The newest parking garage on campus will add a little over 1,000 parking spaces on campus.
The garage will also serve as a partnership between the university and the city of Knoxville. On nights and non-football weekends when parking is not needed greatly by the university, the parking spaces will be available for free for visitors on the Cumberland Avenue strip.
“(It) is a great way for us to help those businesses and help that collaboration,” Irvin said.
Volunteer Blvd. Streetscape
Volunteer Boulevard from Peyton Manning Pass north to Cumberland Avenue began receiving a facelift as the third phase of the landscaping project this summer.
Although not completely finished, the road is open for traffic and is set to be completed soon.
“What really makes this one the cherry on top, if you will, is where the mall crosses Volunteer between Hodges and Haslam Business and Claxton,” Irvin said.
The heavily used crosswalk will feature a paved, checkerboard pattern to promote pedestrian friendliness on campus.
“I think it’s going to really cement us making this campus a pedestrian oriented place, and I think it’s going to be a very special place,” Irvin said. “It’s our way to try to embrace the tradition of UT.”
The south side of The Hill may look different at the start of this school year.
Estabrook, along with Pasque and Berry, have been demolished, and debris has started to be removed, all of which will be gone by the first home game on Sept. 8. Utility work will take place this fall, and the construction of the new engineering complex will start during the spring semester.
“(That's) really an exciting project that’s going to transform that whole portion of campus, not just with the building, but with the plazas,” Irvin said. “It’s a building that has a green roof and some additional food service, great terraces that look over the Tennessee river. It’s really going to transform the south side of the Hill.”
With a completion date of fall semester 2021, Irvin said the changes will transform the way engineering students spend their time at UT.
“We’re going from Pasque, for example, that was a former steam plant and so we’re going from having classes in a former steam plant to building what will be the best nuclear engineering building, the best freshman engineering building in the country,” Irvin said. “Really sort of a night and day difference as to what it will mean for our campus and our students.”
Neyland Stadium renovations
Neyland will begin to see its own facelifts starting in January.
The plans are currently in the design process right now, and the design and construction teams are working independently to ensure costs are within the budget.
“We anticipate that those cost estimates will come back in August, and we’ll be able to complete a schematic design and move on,” Irvin said.
After the design is returned and approved, the first step will be to remove asbestos and demolish the East and South Stadium. The project is set to start in January 2019.
Ken and Blaire Mossman Building
As the newest building on campus, the Ken and Blaire Mossman Building will be fully operational for classes this fall. Complete with the largest Einstein Bros Bagel on campus and a large amount of classroom space, Irvin said the building gives way for more unique learning opportunities.
“Much like Strong (Hall), the classrooms are not the traditional lecture rooms,” Irvin said. “They’re much more collaborative kinds of spaces for the kind of teaching we are trying to do now where it’s not just dumping information on students. ... It’s more talking about how do you use that information and how do you do collaborative projects and collaborative learning.”
The building is geared toward a particular type of research, rather than a particular department.
“Mossman is different in that it is not dedicated to a particular department, it’s for folks that do a particular type of research,” Irvin said. “It’s really set up like the instructional spaces that are collaborative. Increasingly, (this is) where those cutting-edge research opportunities are happening and those funding opportunities are. It’s not in a particular discipline, but (is) in those seams between disciplines.”
“This building positions us in a great way to take advantage of that and to put our faculty and our students in a place that they can do that kind of research that is cutting-edge,” Irvin added.
Across from the TRECS, many have noticed the large building under construction.
“Those are two new residence halls,” Irvin said. “They’re similar in style to Orange and White in that they’re much more residential.”
The residence halls will be finished by the end of 2018, and the housing offices will begin to move to the first floor of one of the halls. In the summer of 2019, the halls will be used for conferences, and by the fall of 2019, they will be fully operational.
Irvin said one of the most exciting components of the buildings is their living and learning capabilities.
“They have a number of rooms that in the mornings when we need classrooms, they can be used as classrooms. In the evenings and weekends when student life and residential life need them for student activities, it can be used for that,” Irvin said.
Humes' demolition has also made room for the new West Campus dining hall. Just as with Neyland, the schematic design is being tested to fit the budget. The dining hall is set to resemble the Fresh Food Company in Stokely Hall and will have more seating than the Presidential Court Building (PCB).
The building is set to open in 2021.
Pedestrian Walkway extension
In conjunction with West Campus construction, Pedestrian Walkway will be extended past Fred Brown. Starting in the summer 2019, Pedestrian Walkway will extend between the Natalie Haslam Music Center and Fred Brown and the following summer will extend to the West Campus dining and residence halls.
“In conjunction with that, we are going to be extending the pedestrian mall. Right now, it stops just east of Fred Brown. Next summer, that mall will extend past Fred Brown, and then in time for the opening of the new dining facility, it will extend to the new residence halls that we’ve been talking about.”
“It’s really going to change the heart of campus. That portion of the mall will have a bike lane and some interesting water features,” Irvin said. “It will really continue to make our campus more pedestrian friendly.”
White Hall, surrounding buildings
White Hall will remain closed this school year to fix a defect in the brick veneer of the building. Fall 2019 will send Reese Hall offline for renovations, but the residence hall that was once slated for demolition will be reopened because of the growth of incoming students.
The Carrick Halls will be demolished eventually, but the timeframe will be determined by enrollment and the residential space needed.
Irvin said no matter the changes, construction will always reflect UT tradition.
“What we really try to do as we’ve added buildings and as we’ve demolished buildings is embrace the best of the UT traditions. We don’t want to ignore those,” Irvin said. “That’s what made UT this special place, so whether it’s the style of the architecture or we’re doing landscaping, we’re really trying to embrace that and refer to things like the buildings on the Hill.”
“I think most alumni have been pleased that we’re not discarding what they were about, but we’re taking that and reinterpreting it for our new students.”