UT Knoxville, in partnership with Knox County, celebrated the opening of a new community outreach facility at the Burlington Library yesterday.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at 5 p.m., followed by a short reception. Knox County Mayor Mike Ragsdale and UT Knoxville Interim Chancellor Jan Simek presented the center and its services to the community.
"This partnership is an exciting opportunity for Knox County," Ragsdale said. "UT Knoxville is the flagship of the state’s university system and a cornerstone in higher education in Tennessee. Knox County’s public library system is one of our most important assets for promoting lifelong learning. Bringing UT’s program to the Burlington Library is an initiative that will bring real value to our citizens for years to come."
A health and wellness clinic, an architecture studio and a business clinic are among the services that UT faculty, staff and students will provide to the residents of the Burlington community.
These services are made possible by four UT Knoxville colleges that have been at the forefront of this service-oriented effort: the College of Architecture and Design, the College of Business Administration, the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences, and the College of Nursing.
The College of Architecture and Design will use the Burlington Library facility to house its Urban Program in Sustainable Design Education (UPSIDE) studio. Through UPSIDE, upper-level architecture students at UT will team with inner-city high school students from Austin East High School and Fulton High School to design and build affordable housing in local neighborhoods in need of revitalization. UT Professor David Fox will serve as the director and primary faculty member coordinating all activities with the UT students and the high school students and administrators.
The College of Education, Health and Human Sciences (CEHHS) and the College of Nursing (CON) have joined forces to offer health education opportunities at Burlington Library. The facility will be a center for tutoring, testing and counseling. Among the UT faculty involved are Nan Gaylor, CON associate professor; Steve McCallum and Tricia McClam, professors in the CEHHS Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling; and Karen Wetherall, CEHHS dietetic internship director.
The College of Business Administration (CBA) will use the Burlington Library facility to broaden its community outreach projects, faculty-led workshops, leadership development seminars and executive education classes. The seminars and faculty-led workshops at Burlington will be geared toward small businesses and entrepreneurial efforts.
"It has taken a great deal of work to bring about this project, and there is much exciting work to do in the future," Simek said. "But I believe success at the Burlington Library will be easy to measure. We succeed if this partnership inspires young people to serve their community, if we improve health services and if we help build successful businesses."
For more information about the UT Knoxville’s programs at the Burlington Library, visit http://web.utk.edu/~burling/.