UTC has been granted approval to move ahead with the new Health Science Center planned for the intersection of East Third Street and Palmetto Avenue as well as renovations to MacLellan Gymnasium.
The State Building Commission recently gave UTC the go-ahead to hire a consultant who will examine the proposed plan for the health science building to help fine-tune various elements of the complex which, according to preliminary estimates, will cost about $100 million.
The commission also said UTC can look into the budget and potential for the building, which has been discussed for about two years.
The Health Science Center is a partnership between UTC, the UT Health Science Center and Erlanger Hospital, so it must be determined how many square feet each needs and where in the building will be located.
Dr. Richard Brown, UTC’s executive vice chancellor of finance and administration, said university officials see the new building as “critical for the continued growth of health sciences at UTC and [it] also enables ongoing partnerships in the medical fields and as a platform for research.”
The plan is to consolidate programs now scattered in buildings across campus, including the departments of Nursing, Health and Human Performance, Biology, Geology and Environmental Science, as well as other health professions.
Brown acknowledged that, even with the commission’s approval, getting the building designed and built will be a long-term process. He estimated funding approval through the UT System and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission could take about three years. The hope is to have the Health Science Center ready to open about two years after that, he said.
In another vote, the commission gave UTC the greenlight to spend $100,000 to prepare for the renovation of Maclellan Gym.
The plan for the gym is to demolish the interior space now used by the pool but retain the building shell, then expand it into a two-story structure. The public restrooms and locker rooms will be upgraded, and the building itself will be renovated so it is in line with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Also in the plans are upgrades to the electrical and heating and air conditioning systems as well as replacing furniture, windows and doors.