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Construction image of the new Engineering Services Complex south of the football stadium
Construction image of the new Engineering Services Complex south of the football stadium. Photo by Steven Bridges

With UT’s spring commencement ceremonies concluded, work is speeding up on several construction projects through the summer.

Laying of the foundation has begun on the new Engineering Services Facility on the east side of Neyland Stadium, and the building will soon begin to take shape. The 228,000-square-foot facility will provide state-of-the-art research and classroom space for Tickle College of Engineering students and faculty.

“It will be pretty dramatic when you see the reinforced concrete going up,” said Dave Irvin, associate vice chancellor for facilities services. Extra concrete was added to the foundation to support nuclear engineering research. Once the superstructure is in place, construction will proceed at a visibly faster rate. The facility is set to open in fall 2021.

The pace also will quicken this summer on the site of the new dining facility west of the Fred Brown Residence Hall on Andy Holt Avenue. Aramark will operate the facility, using the same fresh food concept as in Stokely Hall.

“This new facility will be more open than Presidential Court, with increased flexibility for food needs and preferences,” Irvin said. “Much like the Student Union to the east, the new facility will serve as a gathering spot for students in the residence halls on the west portion of campus, with extended hours each day.”

“It will be more than just a place to eat, it will be a great location to gather and study and be part of the Vol community,” he said.

By popular demand, Irvin said, the dining facility also will feature a full-service Chick-fil-A.

“We have a student dining advisory board that helped guide the building’s design as well as its vendors. The board surveyed students and employees, and their overwhelming choice was a Chick-fil-A,” Irvin said. The dining area also will feature two-and-a-half-story windows, fireplaces, and vaulted ceilings.

At Magnolia and Dogwood Halls, the two new residence facilities in the west campus project set to open in midsummer, trees are being planted and a large recreation area with hardy Bermuda grass developed by turf grass specialists with the Tennessee Titans will be open by the start of classes in the fall.

Other projects this summer include $2.2 million in classroom renovations across campus, with new lights, paint, furniture, and IT upgrades.

“We scheduled the work so that the classrooms that impact the most students, especially new Vols, are completed first,” Irvin said.

Workers also are finishing the winning projects in their Volunteers First Impressions contest to renovate and improve public spaces on campus.

The renovation and installation of new heating and cooling systems is nearing completion in Laurel Hall, and it will reopen for the fall semester. White Hall remains closed as work continues on its brick exterior veneer.

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


Charles Primm (865-974-5180,