By Richard Sailors
CHATTANOOGA (UTC/The Loop) –
To the north, south, east, and west houses, churches, office buildings, hospitals, and rivers surround UTC.
According to the master plan for the campus, the first goal is to have a preferred campus size by balancing growth with available resources.
This plan was developed in 2000 to fit 10,000 full-time students. Sept. 9,2009 UTC surpassed that mark with enrollment of 10,526 students.
Because building space on campus is limited, officials knew campus growth would be difficult. “It was once considered impossible to move our campus beyond McCallie Ave.,” Dr. Richard Brown, vice chancellor for Finance and Operations, said.
Since McCallie Avenue has turned into a two-lane road, it has helped with student safety when they cross that street, Brown said. UTC has grown mostly because it is a place students want to come to, he said.
Now UTC is faced with the problem of lack of space for residents. “In housing, it is not our goal to have people in hotels,” Janet Spraker, director of Engineering Services, said. 210 students in the 2009 fall semester roomed at downtown hotels. Brown said an additional 200 students were denied admission to UTC because of a lack of residential space.
A lot of effort was put into the housing and Brown said he thinks that is a reason why UTC has seen the growth. About 35 percent of the students at UTC are residents. Brown said and if the university is going to grow more, it is going to need more room to place people.
“We are going to get rid of the surface area parking lots and add multilevel parking decks,” Brown said. Each parking deck would hold 500 to 1,000 cars, he said.