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"When I was a student at the University of Tennessee in the late 1950s and early 1960s, our idea of technology was a pencil sharpener in every room."

Dean Skadberg, a member of the College of Business Administration dean’s advisory council and national chairman of annual giving for the UT National Alumni Association, made that comment at the topping off ceremony for the new business building on the UT Knoxville campus last March. It was a joke, but he was making an important point.

Tremendous growth is under way at UT, and much of it involves state-of-the-art facilities that will further UT’s status as a major research university and driving force in the state’s economy. Here are some examples:

New Business Building
The college expects to move into its new 174,000-square-foot building at the corner of Andy Holt Avenue and Volunteer Boulevard in the fall of 2008.

The façade of the former Glocker Building has been preserved. Inside, though, the building will be distinctly modern, equipped for high-definition global teleconferencing and with digital signage, wireless Internet access, and an advanced room access security and information system.

The building will include 32 classrooms, more than 50 offices for staff and administration, 31 team rooms, 4 presentations rooms, a technology center, an investment center, an atrium and a glass elevator.

Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy
The Baker Center, being built at the corner of Melrose and Cumberland avenues, will open in the spring.

The new $15-million facility will include a museum and a 200-seat auditorium. The building will also house the Modern Political Archives.

Min Kao Electrical Engineering & Computer Science Building
Work began in May on this building named for Kao, a UT alumnus and founder of Garmin Ltd.

Kao’s gift of $12.5 million toward the construction of this $37.5-million facility remains the largest single gift for one building in the university’s history.

The 150,000-square-foot building will house classrooms, laboratories, a state-of-the-art clean room facility and a 2,500-square-foot auditorium.

Thompson-Boling Assembly Center and Arena
An overhaul of Thompson-Boling Arena will be completed next month.

Renovations include the addition of 32 suites, all sold; a new scoreboard; an updated concourse; and black seats. In addition, the load-bearing capability of the roof is being doubled – important for concerts and other events that bring more speakers and lights than they did 20 years ago when the arena was built.

Housing facilities
More than 7,000 students live on the Knoxville campus – and it takes constant work to keep residential facilities ready for them.

This year, students living in Hess Hall arrived on campus to find a renovated main entrance, courtyard and lobby. A $21-million overhaul of the Laurel Avenue Apartments is also underway. That building will be converted from married student housing to undergraduate housing.

Planning has also started for the first new residence hall in 30 years.

UT Technology Business Incubator
A 15,000-square-foot, $2.5-million technology business incubator that opened in June on the Agriculture campus in Knoxville will provide both space and business assistance to a number of companies.

Built in partnership with Knox County, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Knoxville Utilities Board, the state of Tennessee and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the incubator is designed to build upon UT’s culture of innovation, especially through the university’s partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory.