We celebrated the beginning of the 2013-14 academic year with two newly completed construction projects, the pedestrian mall in the heart of campus and the Metro Building, with its beautiful new exterior and new inside spaces for the Department of Health and Human Performance and the UTC television studio.  The School of Nursing is also housed in Metro. 

What’s next? Dr. Richard Brown, Executive Vice Chancellor, UTC Finance and Operations, gives us the details. 

New housing

In the first step toward additional housing for UTC students, the Tennessee State Building Commission has approved a new facility to be located at the site of the tennis courts and racquet center, between the McKenzie Arena and the Boling Apartments.  For several years, student demand for housing has exceeded available space.

The new facility will be one of the largest student housing construction projects in Tennessee.  Designers from Knoxville, Atlanta, and Nashville have expressed interest—by June, a designer is expected to be approved.

Freshmen will live in this traditional style housing and have the added benefit of onsite dining. Living/learning communities are planned to foster leadership abilities and to help students integrate more fully into the UTC community.  It’s another way UTC encourages student success.

Within the next 12-18 months, demolition will begin.  Occupancy is anticipated in fall semester 2017.

State office buildings

Brown calls UTC’s acquisition of two state office buildings off McCallie Avenue “transformative” for our University.  The University will take occupancy of the buildings in fall semester 2014.

In the short term the larger of the two structures will become transitional space.   With approval from the UT system, plans will move forward in summer semester 2015 to convert Holt Hall into a space exclusively dedicated to the Department of Biology and Environmental Sciences.  During the renovation of Holt and the move to the new library, faculty, staff, and equipment will be temporarily moved to the state building.

The building will also be used as transitional space when five campus buildings are taken offline:  the Doctors’ Building, Frist Hall, Southeast Center for the Arts, 739 McCallie (where the Ochs Center is housed), and the old Red Cross Building.

In the distant future there are plans for demolition of the building, if approval is granted for a UTC health science or life science building.

The James R. Mapp Building is also a part of the acquisition.

“It’s a flexible space that could serve as another physical connection to downtown Chattanooga and serve as an anchor for the redevelopment of the MLK corridor,” said Brown.

Outreach and business services could also be housed there—possibly executive education, Continuing Education, and a business development incubator.

Both buildings offer a total of 650 new and much-needed parking spaces.  These spaces are saving the University $18 million in parking construction costs.

Libraries, new and current

Our premier learning environment is coming together—the new library is on schedule to open in spring semester 2015.

Natural materials used in construction will help the new library in its effort to become Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified.  LEED officials recently completed a second site visited and discussed the underground cistern designed to collect condensate from mechanical systems and rainwater, to be used to feed outside grassy areas.  Recycling stations will be available on each floor of the building.  Open, inviting stairwells at the new library encourage walking from floor to floor.  Did you know one ride on an elevator requires the same energy as it takes to charge your cell phone?  It’s something to consider the next time you’ve got a choice to walk or ride.

Floors one and two of the new facility are being painted.  Carpet installation and wiring for technology are underway.

Next door, progress continues on the new lecture hall featuring two large classes with more than 200 seats each.  These spaces will be critical for use in general education courses.  They will be equipped with the newest technology.

After the new library opens, the Lupton Building will undergo renovation and capital improvements so that it becomes a site for outstanding instructional spaces.

A new front for the building will expand usable space by approximately 15,000 square feet.  This lower area could become a meeting space for student committees.  The upper portion will house an innovative teaching environment, featuring integrative, interactive classrooms without walls. The flexible space could provide distance, online and in-class learning.

College of Business

Fletcher Hall will experience a repurposing and refreshing of the space formerly occupied by the Banner Office and the current student lounge.  Construction is scheduled to begin in fall semester 2014, to create a home for advisement and student success for undergraduate and graduate students in the COB.

There will also be places for students to gather and make connections, both with fellow students and with business faculty.

This project is being funded with private donations.

More green space

With savings from the Cardiac Hill renovation, the new plaza next to Chamberlain Pavilion and the new library will become an active green space.  This pedestrian-friendly and ADA compliant area will feature new lighting and wireless technology.

“There will be a place for student artists to paint and maybe an area for vocal artists to perform.  We are having a conversation with ARAMARK about vendors—maybe pizza and ice cream carts.  In the Master Plan, we described this area as the central core of the campus center.  Students and alumni, faculty and staff, prospective students and their parents—it will be the place for a photo op, it will not be a sacred space.  Everyone will enjoy it,” Brown said.

Oak Street, Vine Street

In the next couple of years, the streetscapes of Oak and Vine will be addressed.  Vine Street will not be reopened.  Brown and campus planners envision concrete pavers, more trees, and generally a more inviting hardscape created to further unify the campus.

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