The UT Board of Trustees approved a list of statewide capital funding requests, with the top priority projects for the UT Institute of Agriculture and UT Knoxville campuses.
The UT System now submits the list to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. THEC staff will include a prioritized statewide capital outlay and maintenance list for the state’s public institutions for consideration of funding in the state’s 2018–19 budget.
Governor Bill Haslam and the General Assembly consider all capital funding requests as part of the state budgeting process. The UT board approval allows the campuses to proceed with the process of contracting for design and construction within available funds.
The project at the top of the list is an energy and environmental research building on the Ellington Plant Sciences site on the agriculture campus. The new building will house teaching laboratories, research and public service labs, offices, new classrooms, and a 500-seat teaching and learning center.
A UT College of Veterinary Medicine teaching and learning center is second on the list. It involves expanding and improving the college’s primary building to include a lecture hall, a clinical simulation skills lab, classrooms, computer labs, a group study space, offices, support space, and an exterior plaza.
UT Knoxville’s College of Nursing building—top on the campus’s priority list—is the third priority on the UT System priority list. The current facility is more than 40 years old and houses 76 faculty and 27 staff to serve 800 undergraduate and graduate students. The college’s enrollment has grown from 450 to 800 over the past six years. With a high demand for nursing professionals at all levels, the college would like to serve at least 1,000 students but needs more space.
The building will help the college address the significant nursing shortage in Tennessee by increasing enrollment. At present, the college can accommodate only a small percentage of applicants.
The college’s research activity has doubled in recent years, but accommodating that activity has been difficult due to space constraints.
The board also approved an updated master plan for Neyland Stadium. The two-phase project will be funded through private funds and ticket revenues.