A new residence hall and a new parking garage opened this week as students returned to campus for the fall semester.
White Hall opened earlier this week. Its twin, Orange Hall, will open later in the semester. The two halls represent the first phase of university’s west campus redevelopment project, which began in 2011 with the goal of improving the student housing experience and accommodating additional living and learning communities. White Hall houses 296 students and Orange Hall will house 378 students. The buildings share a common courtyard.
A new parking garage opened Monday, August 8, on Volunteer Boulevard across from the Natalie L. Haslam Music Center. The six-level garage provides around 800 new parking spots for commuter students and 200 parking spots for faculty and staff, and will feature technology that provides real-time updates of vacant parking spaces.
A section of Volunteer Boulevard from UT Drive to Pat Head Summitt Street that has been closed all summer reopens Friday, August 12, as part of a three-phase project to beautify Volunteer Boulevard. The campus beautification project removed curbside parking, widened the curbside lanes, and added raised midblock crosswalks to assist with traffic calming. Later in the semester new lighting and traffic lights, pedestrian crossings, and tables and chairs will be installed. The project also will strengthen the wireless internet connectivity in the area.
Progress Continues on Key Projects
The Stokely Family Residence Hall will open in January 2017 and will add housing for 684 students. The residence hall’s new dining area, which will be open for use by the entire campus community, will have a seating capacity of 750 and will feature the fresh food concept. Under this approach all food is prepared made to order in front of the customer.
Infrastructure for the second phase of the Student Union project is rising from the ground. One evening during the summer, concrete for the building’s footings was poured from 240 concrete trucks running continuously from 9:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m. the next day.
“That was an impressive sight,” said Dave Irvin, associate vice chancellor for facilities services.
The second phase of the Student Union is set to open in 2018.
The final phase of work on Strong Hall is underway. Strong Hall is the highly visible classroom and office building on Cumberland Avenue at Sixteenth Street. The building’s laboratories and classrooms are set to open in January 2017. Offices, research labs, and two large lecture halls will open later in the semester.
Construction continues on the site of the Ken and Blaire Mossman Building on Cumberland Avenue at Thirteenth Street. When completed in 2018, the building will house portions of microbiology, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, psychology and nutrition, along with lab space and classrooms.
The new Facilities Services Complex on Sutherland Avenue now houses more than 200 employees. The 91,000-square-foot building repurposed a 1908 marble and precast factory to house offices, warehouse space, and workshop space for all divisions of campus facilities.
The relocation has allowed most Facilities Services employees to move from their previous building on Volunteer Boulevard and frees up space in the core of the main campus. The office section of the building is assembled in an open floor plan to foster collaboration among employees and departments. The project is a great example of an adapted reuse and revitalization of a once-vacant industrial site, Irvin said.
The campus has also made great strides over the past several years in catching up on deferred maintenance and completing needed renovations and repairs.
“We’re proud of our progress on our new facilities,” said Irvin. “But it’s amazing to look at our focus on deferred maintenance this year. We’ve invested resources in renovating many of our classrooms, and we’ve made major progress in building maintenance, with more than $35 million just in roof repairs.”
The UT Conference Center building on Henley Street is now undergoing a renovation. The UT English Language Institute has relocated from Mountcastle Street to new classroom and office space in the Conference Center. Renovations will continue this fall in the RecSports TRECS facility. The project will include installation of new flooring and new exercise equipment.