The $7.7 million UTC Sports Complex has officially opened, giving a new space for intramural sports, club sports and other events.
About 17 acres and located next to Engel Stadium on East Third Street, the facility includes four multi-purpose, synthetic turf fields for flag football, lacrosse, soccer and ultimate Frisbee, plus one grass field for rugby and band practice. There also are a quarter-mile walking track and three sand volleyball courts.
“In spite of the weather, I know it’s not a nice day for that, but it’s a great day to dedicate this facility, to officially open it,” UTC Chancellor Steve Angle said at the ribbon-cutting on Friday, Nov. 9, as rain misted around him. “What a transformation in this area.”
Along with the sports-oriented features, the complex—paid for through student fees—has a clubhouse with restrooms and maintenance/storage areas, two pavilions, seating areas with shade structures and concrete bins for bulk material storage. The entire complex, which took about a year to build, is covered by LED lighting designed to focus on the sports fields and not spill over into the surrounding community.
Bradley Bell, assistant director of new student and family programs, remembered when the complex was just an empty field. “Now I see all the endless possibilities that are going to be here,” he said at the opening ceremonies
The property was purchased about 20 years ago from Chattanooga, Hamilton County and the state of Tennessee, said Richard Brown, executive vice chancellor for finance and administration. “The state of Tennessee said, ‘Dr. Brown, you must be crazy. What in the world are you going to do with this property’?” he recalled.
The complex is another link in the chain that binds UTC to Chattanooga and the neighborhoods around the university, Angle said.
“We tried to reach out to our community as we planned this facility,” he said. “We looked at what we could do to that might add some value here.”