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KNOXVILLE — The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees voted unanimously at their fall meeting Wednesday to approve the first part of a multi-phase renovation and expansion of Neyland Stadium.

The vote came after a recommendation by the Finance and Administration committee, which received a detailed briefing on the project from UT men’s athletic director Mike Hamilton.

“We looked at this project with five goals in mind,” Hamilton said.

“We wanted to prepare Neyland Stadium for the next 75 years, to upgrade amenities such as concession stands and restrooms, to improve stadium safety and security, make needed upgrades to the infrastructure, and do it all in a fiscally sound manner.”

No tax dollars will be spent on the $16 million project. It will be funded through private donations and corporate sponsorships.

Later phases of the project will include the addition of club seating areas in the stands.

In other business, Dr. Jeff Wadsworth, director of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, briefed trustees on UT-ORNL joint institutes in computer science and neutron science, and plans for future institutes in biology and materials science.

“Our joint institutes will take advantage of what I call the three legs of scientific research in the 21st century: nanotechnology, information science and biology,” Wadsworth said. “This is a really big opportunity for UT-Battelle and ORNL to take a huge step forward.”

UT and the Battelle Memorial Institute manage ORNL for the U.S. Department of Energy.

In other action, trustees elected Dr. Jack Britt as UT’s executive vice president and interim chief financial officer.