Several construction projects at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are expected to be completed throughout the 2022–23 academic year in a continued effort to enhance the campus experience for students, faculty, staff, fans, and visitors.
“We have been reaching new heights here on Rocky Top, setting records this year in new enrollment, student retention, research, state and donor funding, and more,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “From new academic buildings on our Knoxville campus to projects across the state, we are investing in the infrastructure needed to continue our momentum and deliver for our students and the people of Tennessee.”
Other projects in the design and planning phases include new academic buildings, stadium upgrades, a new theatre, and two new residence halls.
Take a look in the above video at additional updates that highlight the expanse of UT’s growing impact.
Projects under construction
Several Neyland Stadium renovations are expected to be complete ahead of the fall 2022 football season, which kicks off September 1. The project includes a renovated west lower bowl, which will enhance fan seating and provide the necessary infrastructure for a future club area. Other includes renovation of the south end zone videoboard and a new north end zone video scoreboard with a social deck. A fan favorite—the iconic V-O-L-S letters—are back at Neyland Stadium for the 2022 season. Additional renovations are planned through fall 2026. Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Danny White said the upgrades will significantly enhance the game day experience for all fans at Neyland Stadium. “Our fans have been instrumental in helping to shape the vision for the future of one of the most iconic sporting venues in the world,” he said.
A 19,000-square-foot addition to the College of Veterinary Medicine at the UT Institute of Agriculture will create a new Teaching and Learning Center, providing a new simulation and teaching laboratory for veterinary medicine, collaboration spaces, and a new entrance to the Webster C. Pendergrass Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Library. The addition replaces a surface parking lot and is expected to wrap up in the fall.
Phase II of the Joe Johnson–John Ward Pedestrian Mall, estimated to be completed in the fall, will enhance the overall campus appearance by removing surface parking from the center of campus and replacing it with an active pedestrian zone featuring dedicated bike lanes and a variety of seating options. The new pedestrian zone was formerly Andy Holt Avenue.
The UT Creamery, a popular ice cream parlor on campus more than half a century ago, has been re-envisioned, and a new venue is expected to open in fall 2022 in the former Visitors Center on Neyland Drive. Today’s creamery will be operated by students through a partnership between the Department of Food Science in UT’s Herbert College of Agriculture and the Rocky Top Institute in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences’ Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management. Depending on their roles, students involved in the creamery will learn modern methods of ice cream production, manufacturing, logistics, product development, retail business, marketing, merchandising, and sales. UTIA animal science and food science students will source local milk to create the ice cream and formulate the flavors.
A new Stormwater Park is expected to wrap up in spring 2023. It will offer a new stormwater management system, creating an urban park with water features, seating, outdoor teaching, and recreation areas. The new system will redirect stormwater into water retention features, allowing it to be absorbed into the ground instead of flowing into storm drains. The new Stormwater Park is located where the Morrill Hall Dormitory once stood.
The West Volunteer Boulevard Streetscape project is expected to be completed in fall 2023. It is the final phase of Volunteer Boulevard streetscaping, which will improve the pedestrian experience in the west and north areas of campus along Volunteer Boulevard from UT Drive to Cumberland Avenue. The project removes on-street parking and provides new landscaping, lighting, and plaza areas. It replaces aging stormwater infrastructure with new stormwater bioswales–landscape features that collect runoff.
Projects in the design phase
A new 157,000-square-foot Energy and Environmental Science Research Building will provide research labs, classrooms, a 500-seat auditorium, and a food venue for the UT Institute of Agriculture. A green roof will include space for events and research while holding stormwater. The new building will sit at the site of the former Ellington Life Sciences Building and Hollingsworth Auditorium and is estimated to be completed in spring 2024.
The Jenny Boyd Carousel Theatre is estimated to open in fall 2024. The new 17,000-square-foot building will replace the Carousel Theatre and provide experimental and flexible theatre space with multiple levels of seating, a lobby, greenroom, and back-of-house support spaces. The new theatre is made possible by a $5 million gift from UT System President Randy Boyd and his wife, Jenny, who both graduated from UT in 1979. Jenny Boyd remembers visiting the Carousel Theatre as a child and looks forward to a new generation of children enjoying the updated space. “For me to have my name on the building just means everything to me, and I can’t wait to see the looks on children’s faces when they wander through the doors for the first time once it has been remade,” she said.
The Croley Nursing Building is slated for a fall 2025 opening. It is named after Sara Croley (’00) and her husband, Ross, who gave $7.5 million to the college. “We are passionate about supporting nurses and nursing education, especially in the aftermath of a global pandemic,” Croley said. The new 117,000-square-foot building will offer classrooms, simulation labs, research labs, offices, and a green roof. Plaza areas will accommodate large events, outdoor teaching, a variety of seating, and a healing garden. The new building will replace the existing College of Nursing Building.
The university is nearing the completion of the programming phase for a new facility to be built in the footprint of Melrose Hall. The building will house Student Success, Student Disability Services, five instructional classrooms, academic, and special event spaces. “This state-of-the-art facility will transform how faculty and staff support our student scholars to reach their academic, professional, and personal goals. I am thrilled to continue to invest in creating the conditions where our student scholars thrive,” said Amber Williams, vice provost for Student Success. Occupancy is tentatively planned for 2026.
Projects in the planning phase
The university plans to initiate the design phase for renovations to Lindsey Nelson Stadium, home of Tennessee baseball, in fall 2022. The project will include expanded seating and club spaces to enhance the fan experience, upgrades to team spaces, and infrastructure improvements.
The design phase is expected to begin for two new residence halls in fall 2022. The halls will provide 550 and 750 new beds, respectively. The new buildings will also include classroom spaces and will be built on current surface parking areas.
The Haslam College of Business expansion will include a new building that will provide flexible classrooms and collaboration areas promoting relationships among students, faculty, other university disciplines, and industry. The university plans to initiate the design phase in the fall. The expansion will support the college as it experiences significant growth.
New projects supporting research across the state and region
The university opened the UT Space Institute Huntsville Research Center in Huntsville, Alabama, in April. The new center is an extension of the UT Space Institute in Tullahoma–just 60 miles north of Huntsville–and is the first out-of-state research office for the university. It focuses on connecting federal agencies and industry leaders with UT talent and capabilities to solve complex aerospace and defense challenges. “Our faculty are doing fundamental research in laboratories, but the research doesn’t just stay there,” Plowman said. “Our faculty are taking what they’ve learned, discoveries they’ve made in their labs where they solve problems, and they’re really working hard at making lives better in Alabama, in Tennessee, and around the world.” Huntsville is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and a hub for the nation’s aerospace and defense sectors.
Tennessee continues to invest in UTIA through a $50 million grant from the state’s federal American Rescue Plan funds. The money will be used to enhance infrastructure and modernize equipment at UTIA’s 10 AgResearch and Education Centers across the state, which will greatly enable the institute’s abilities to conduct cutting-edge research, innovation, and education to increase food and fiber security and workforce training to benefit people in Tennessee and beyond.
Lisa Leko (865-974-8698, email@example.com)