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Wearing orange hard hats and holding shovels, leaders from UT and RISE break ground on two new residence halls.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, celebrated on March 6 the groundbreaking of two new residential communities that are expected to open in fall 2025. The new residence halls will add approximately 1,950 beds to the university’s housing inventory, which currently has about 8,500 beds. They are a key component of the university’s strategic plan for enrollment growth and will help meet the needs of students who are seeking to stay on campus longer.

“This groundbreaking ceremony marks an important milestone for our campus,” said Vice Chancellor for Student Life Frank Cuevas. “The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, is thriving, and the development of these new residence halls will help us build a more dynamic on-campus student experience and meet the needs of a growing student body while providing our students with affordable campus housing options. We eagerly look forward to this next phase of the project in partnership with RISE Development LLC.”

Public-private partnership

The new residence halls are being built through a public-private partnership, the first of its kind at a university in Tennessee. The university and state leaders previously awarded the project to RISE Development.

“RISE and our partner firms again thank UT and the UT System for selecting us in April 2023 to be your partner for this world-class undertaking,” said RISE Senior Vice President Jeremy Doss. “The teamwork over the past 10 months to design, develop, permit and finance these 2,000 beds to allow this on-time start of construction is surely an industry record, and we look forward to cutting the ribbon alongside you all in August 2025.”

Members of RISE joined Cuevas, Chancellor Donde Plowman, Interim Senior Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Allen Bolton, Executive Director of University Housing Anthony White and other leaders at the groundbreaking ceremony.

An artist’s rendering shows the exterior of the future residential community that will be built along Andy Holt Avenue.

Construction of the two new residential communities represents phase 1 of the project. The first community, at the intersection of Andy Holt Avenue and 20th Street, will include 788 beds in a single seven-story building. The second, a two-building housing community with 1,166 beds, will be built between Caledonia Avenue and Terrace Avenue.

An artist’s rendering shows the future residential community being built between Caledonia and Terrace Avenues.

The projects are being delivered through a ground lease structure. UT retains ownership of the land, while Provident Group–UTK Properties — a special purpose 501(c)(3) entity of Provident Resources Group — will own the facilities for the term of the project-based bond financing. At the end of the debt funding, the ownership of the buildings will revert to the university. RISE and its partner firms are developing, financing and constructing the facilities, and the university and RISE will maintain them through a long-term shared services partnership. Students living in the residence halls will sign a contract with University Housing and receive the same programming and services as any student living in campus housing.

Future phase includes third residence hall

An artist’s rendering depicts the future Lake Loudoun Boulevard residence hall.

Phase 2 of the initial public-private partnership will consist of a third residential community at the intersection of Lake Loudoun Boulevard and Volunteer Boulevard, which will add another 1,028 beds. The project has been approved by the UT Board of Trustees and is pending state approvals. This third community is expected to open for fall 2026.


Lisa Leko (865-974-8698,