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KNOXVILLE –- The University of Tennessee has received a $150,000 Campus Heritage Grant from the J. Paul Getty Trust to promote historic preservation.

The grant will fund an inventory and assessment of historic buildings and sites on campus and the creation of a campus preservation plan.

Tim Ezzell, director of UT’s Community Partnership Center, will oversee the project.

“Most people don’t realize the historical significance of UT’s campus,” said Ezzell, who holds graduate degrees in both history and planning. “This site has seen a Native American settlement, a Civil War battle, Civil Rights protests, a World’s Fair and other important events. In many ways, it is one of the more significant campus sites in the nation.”

UT was the first non-sectarian institution of higher learning in the United States and is the nation’s 28th oldest college. Founded in 1794, the university has been at its current site since 1826. The campus now consists of 220 structures on 550 acres adjacent to downtown Knoxville. Approximately 38 percent of these structures are more than 50 years old.

Identifying and preserving the campus’ historic structures is a goal of the project.

“As the university continues to grow and evolve, we need to make sure we maintain the architectural and historical character of the institution,” Ezzell said. “These buildings and this campus tie together generations of students, faculty and alumni. As the university moves into the future, we need to maintain these bonds and traditions so the campus remains a special place — a community for learning and inquiry.”

Members of the UT community will play an important role in the planning process.

Students, faculty, staff and alumni will have opportunities to participate in the project and contribute to the final preservation plan. The two-year process also will be aided by a steering committee of campus and community stakeholders.

The Center for Historic Preservation (CHP) at Middle Tennessee State University will provide technical assistance for the project.

“CHP is excited about collaborating with UT to preserve the history and architecture of the state’s flagship public university,” said Carrol Van West, CHP director and a UT alumnus.

Susan Tate, a UT alumna who is an architecture professor at the University of Florida, received a Getty grant for her campus in 2003 and will share her experiences with UT project members. Tate also will host a site visit by UT representatives to show the results of preservation planning on the Florida campus.

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute. Since 2002, the Getty Trust has funded preservation planning projects at 71 colleges and universities across the country, as well as surveys of hundreds of small liberal arts colleges.

Other institutions receiving Campus Heritage Grants in 2006 include Emerson College, New York University, Tuskegee University, Louisiana State University, the University of Cincinnati and the United States Naval Academy.

Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034,
Dr. Tim Ezzell, (865) 974-9036;