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Mike Sherrell’s nearly 38 years of service to the University of Tennessee have seen many changes and improvements to campus buildings and facilities.

“Just in the last 10 years, so many new campus buildings have opened that the amount of square footage has increased substantially,” the Facilities Services executive director said.

Sherrell, who joined UT in 1973, announced earlier this year that he’ll retire at the end of the month.

Terry Ledford, senior program director for the UT Knoxville capital project management office, will become interim director on April 1. A national search is underway for a permanent replacement.

Sherrell, a Chattanooga native, began his UT career as a management analyst for the president’s office from the Chattanooga campus and then transferred to Knoxville. In 1982 he became associate director of what was then called the Physical Plant at UT Knoxville, and took over the day-to-day management of the renamed Facilities Services department in 2001. He first served as interim executive director, and was then named executive director.

In addition to new buildings, Sherrell says he’s seen growing interest in recycling and energy savings on campus.

“In the 1970s and 1980s, energy was cheap and plentiful, so we didn’t have to worry too much about energy efficiency,” he said. “But today, UT Knoxville has responded to rising energy costs in a very proactive way with Switch Your Thinking, Make Orange Green and other sustainability initiatives.”

Facilities Services has more than 530 employees and an annual budget of almost $45 million. The department oversees building operation and maintenance and groundskeeping for more than 230 buildings, as well as a university-owned steam plant and electrical distribution system.

Sherrell says that following his retirement, he and his wife, Myra, will take an ocean cruise to Russia and the Baltic nations of northern Europe. They also plan to spend lots of time with their four grandchildren.