The hint-of-mint green wall tiles and wall lockers are gone.
The heating and air conditioning systems are more energy efficient. State-of-the-art technology takes advantage of the digital world.
The $13.9-million upgrading of the 65-year-old Hunter Hall, which began in December 2020, is almost complete at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
When fall semester starts in August, the maintenance and modernization renovations should be complete, said Valerie Rutledge, dean of the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies.
“We have made some specific changes to make it more desirable for the faculty and for the students who are here,” said Rutledge, who has worked in Hunter Hall since 1995. “It will be clean, not crowded with lots of items that were a carryover from before. The look now is much cleaner, brighter, up-to-date and streamlined.”
Cosmetic changes—such as wall paint and furniture that follows a blue-and-gold theme and floors polished to a fine shine—probably will be the first thing people notice, but updating the maintenance systems were the heart of the project, Rutledge said.
New heating and air conditioning equipment and lighting fixtures will increase energy efficiency. Classrooms have movable furniture that makes it easier to adjust layouts for the needs of each class. Building-wide, the furniture style will be consistent throughout, not a catch-as-catch-can situation.
As far as the lockers on the second floor, they haven’t been entirely removed. Instead, they’re behind walls and no longer visible or usable.
That leads to a question that’s buzzed around UTC for years: Why the heck are there lockers in Hunter Hall in the first place? This is a university, not an elementary, middle or high school.
Rutledge said that the lockers were initially installed for a similar reason to those schools.
When Hunter Hall was built in 1957, UTC was still the University of Chattanooga, a private school with smaller student enrollment and fewer buildings.
Students and faculty didn’t want to lug their books and other materials around campus all day. Backpacks back then were for hiking, not books. Creating one location where items could be stored and picked up when needed was more efficient.
Solution: lockers in Hunter Hall.
Rutledge said that students and faculty were still using the lockers before the current renovation of Hunter Hall began.
“Faculty who needed storage could use those lockers. So could students who had a lot of books to carry around. We could assign a locker to a student,” she said.
Rutledge said that the lockers prompted some to believe Hunter Hall once was part of a K-12 school, but that’s not true.
“It was always a University building,” she said.
During the work on the building, all departments and programs from the College of Health, Education and Professional Studies moved out to various locations around campus. All are returning except Interior Architecture and Integrated Studies, which will remain in Davenport Hall, where they moved. A new program, Bachelor of Applied Science – Applied Leadership, will move into Hunter.
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Although it’s not part of the Hunter Hall redo, Campus Drive—located next to the building—is being redesigned to benefit pedestrian traffic.
Running from McCallie Avenue to Mocs Alumni Drive, the Campus Drive redevelopment will improve access to multiple buildings and parking areas while completing a central pedestrian spine.