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The second phase of the Student Union opens Wednesday, marking an end to the largest construction project the campus has seen in decades.

“With the Student Union opening and the progress we’re making on other projects, it’s an exciting time to be at UT,” said Dave Irvin, associate vice chancellor for facilities services.

At nearly 400,000 square feet, the Student Union is designed to be the community center of campus, providing a central gathering space as well as a home to many administrative offices.

While the Student Union opening is a pivotal moment for campus, other construction and beautification initiatives finishing up and those still under way promise to continue to change the campus landscape.

“As people visit the Student Union, we also encourage them to take a look at the improvements along Volunteer Boulevard,” said Irvin. During the winter break, workers planted bushes and trees along the newly landscaped sections of the street between Peyton Manning Pass and Cumberland Avenue. The area features benches, tables, and enhanced wireless internet connectivity to encourage pedestrian use.

Dogwood and Magnolia Halls, the newest additions to the west campus residence hall project, will be completed this spring. The halls will have space for a total of 872 students when they open for move-in this fall, along with office space for employees in the University Housing office.

The new west campus dining facility will break ground by April on the former site of Humes Hall. The three-story dining facility replaces the Presidential Court Building, which will be converted to administrative and meeting space.

Two residence halls remain temporarily closed. White Hall is closed as workers replace the building’s exterior brick veneer. Remediation work is under way at Laurel Hall after mold was discovered last fall. Laurel Hall is scheduled to reopen for the fall 2019 semester, but a reopening date for White Hall has not yet been set.

Work also continues on the new engineering complex next to Neyland Stadium, with utilities being installed over the next few months. Once completed, the facility will be the home of the nuclear engineering department, the engineering fundamentals program, honors programs, collaborative studios, and research laboratories.

“Our crews have done a great job over the break getting the campus spruced up for returning students and faculty,” said Irvin, who also encouraged students and employees to enter the Volunteers First Impressions contest and suggest their own idea for renovating public spaces on campus.

For more information on campus construction projects, visit the Cone Zone website.


Charles Primm (865-974-5180,