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Construction on the new Student Union project is progressing well and on schedule.

The six-story structure has been formed from steel, and workers are pouring the concrete floors. A new pedestrian bridge is being built and will provide a new connection to the Hill by this fall.

The first phase of work is set for completion by spring 2015. The building should be occupied and in full use by late spring.

The project will cost $167 million, which includes the new Student Union, improvements to the Staff 9 parking lot, and the expansion of the pedestrian mall and Phillip Fulmer Way.

The new Student Union will enhance services for our students and the entire community through a larger auditorium/performance venue; additional program, conference, and meeting space; a much larger ballroom for larger events and banquets; a new and expanded book and technology store; and more dining options.

The project began in the spring of 2012 with the demolition of the old University Center parking garage at the corner of Andy Holt Avenue and Phillip Fulmer Way. Temple Court, Aconda Court, and the Student Success Building were demolished later in the year to make way for the building’s larger footprint.

The first phase of the project involves the building of the six-story structure with five occupied levels. The 142,000-square-foot structure will house the VolShop and VolTech stores, Career Services, and expanded Dining Service areas that will allow for additional food vendors.

Workers completed the steel framing this spring. Concrete for the center’s upper levels has been poured, and the wall framing and utility installation on the lower levels is progressing. Interior finish work will begin once the exterior is enclosed and protected from weather.

The first phase also includes a pedestrian walkway, which will stretch from Volunteer Boulevard near the Haslam Business Building to the Hill near the Burchfiel Geography Building. It will be completed by the end of this summer.

As work progresses, improvements will begin on the Staff 9 parking lot adjacent to the Student Union. New lighting and landscaping will be installed by the end of the summer.

Once the first portion of the new building opens, the existing University Center will be demolished to make room for the second phase of work, which involves adding 248,000 square feet to house the new auditorium; ballroom; and dining, meeting, and recreation spaces.

Offices currently located in the University Center will move next spring. At that time, Career Services will begin occupying the new portion of the Student Union, while the other offices will relocate to various temporary locations around campus. The VolShop and a large portion of the dining services will open in the new building. This second phase of the work will complete the facility. It will be finished in 2017. The building will span the full length of the block between Volunteer Boulevard and Phillip Fulmer Way.


Karen Simsen (865-974-5186,