As we end the academic year, I want to take a moment and update you on a bit of building news for the campus.
First, we are pleased to announce that the Tennessee State Building Commission approved for us to move forward with planning for a new student housing facility. This project will be located on the site of the tennis courts and racquet center between the McKenzie Arena and the Boling Apartments. We will begin the work of moving the courts and demolition of the center within 12-18 months which will be followed by construction of the housing facility with an anticipated occupancy of fall 2017.
This project will be traditional style housing instead of apartments and will include a dining facility on site. The focus for this housing will be for freshmen. This will allow us to create more living/learning communities to engage students and help them be successful.
We believe this project will help animate the Vine Street corridor, create new opportunities for business development, and connect the campus to downtown Chattanooga.
Many of you have also asked about the status of the Tennessee State Office Building complex that runs from McCallie Avenue down to M.L. King Blvd. I am pleased to report that these buildings were officially deeded over to the University (from one state agency to another) debt free. This is a tremendous opportunity for us—truly a transformational opportunity given the limited amount of accessible land around the campus—with space for growth and the addition of 600 new parking places. I cannot think of a better sign of support or partnership from the State of Tennessee than this gift. We are truly grateful.
I want to acknowledge the work of many individuals that went into bringing these two projects to this point. Both of these have been collaborative efforts with input from campus, system, community leaders, and elected representatives.
These projects are important steps as we continue to create the best possible learning environment for our students.
Thank you for all that you do for our university. I will keep you updated as these projects move forward.