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Exterior building image of Magnoila Hall
Magnolia Hall, August 7, 2019. Photo by Steven Bridges/University of Tennessee

UT’s newest residence halls, Magnolia and Dogwood Halls, are blossoming just in time for the start of classes this fall.

They’re among the many ongoing infrastructure projects that continue to transform campus. Other work currently under way includes the construction of buildings for dining, research, and education, as well as improvements to roadways and streetscapes.

The new residence halls are the latest phase of the university’s west campus project. Located on Andy Holt Avenue, the two buildings provide about 240,000 square feet of space and, together, will house 872 students in two- and four-person rooms.

“The two buildings are beautiful, and really highlight the Collegiate Gothic look we’ve been emphasizing in our new construction,” said Dave Irvin, associate vice chancellor for facilities services. “The landscaping is almost finished, and we think our students will be excited to see it as they move in this week.”

The halls also offer plentiful meeting spaces where academic classes will be held during the day and meetings and events will be held on evenings and weekends. Magnolia Hall also is the new home of the Department of University Housing.

“The new residence halls will be home to four living learning communities, offering students an opportunity to connect academically and personally with their peers,” said Chandra Myrick, executive director of university housing. “They’ll also enjoy the shared living spaces that will allow them to study in groups, cook together or just hang out.”

Work will begin soon on a tower and pavilion on the intramural fields next to the TRECS building. The tower will be used by band officials to get a birds-eye view of the Pride of the Southland marching band as it practices formations and drills. The pavilion will provide a sheltered location for the band to practice. Although the facility will be primarily used by the marching band, it also will be available for special events and other uses. Construction on the tower is set to begin in September, with the pavilion work starting in January.

Just east of Magnolia and Dogwood Halls, site preparation continues for a new dining facility to replace the Presidential Complex. When it opens in spring 2021, the dining facility will include a full-service Chick-fil-A and a fresh food concept similar to the one now in place at Stokely Hall. The dining area will feature vaulted ceilings, fireplaces, and extra-large windows.

Farther east, work continues on the new Engineering Complex next to Neyland Stadium.

“A lot of the structure of the building has gone up over the summer, so for students who haven’t been on campus since the spring, it will be a dramatic difference,” Irvin said.

When finished in fall 2021, the 228,000-square-foot facility will provide state-of-the-art research and classroom space for the Tickle College of Engineering.

Over the summer, Lake Loudoun Boulevard was repaved and decorative crosswalks were added. More than $2 million in classroom renovations took place, with 62 classrooms around campus receiving complete overhauls.

“We did a lot of work during the summer break that is not necessarily visible, but it allows UT to be more energy efficient while increasing the reliance and robustness of our infrastructure,” Irvin said.

Laurel Hall, which was closed for mold remediation, has new heating and cooling systems, as well as new furniture and carpeting in all rooms. It will reopen for the fall semester.

Later this fall, work leading up to the demolition of Morrill Hall will begin. Once the building is taken down, the site will be cleared and converted into a grassy commons area.

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


Charles Primm (865-974-5180,