A former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga student has come full circle, as he now oversees renovations and updates to the on-campus housing where he once lived.
Slade McGuire, a 2019 UTC construction management graduate, is currently the site superintendent of the Walker Apartments renovations. He is overseeing work that even includes the student apartment McGuire lived in as a UTC freshman.
McGuire was an engineering major as a first-year student, but he took a break before returning to major in construction management.
“I loved engineering but I also loved the business side of it, and the construction world is kind of that marriage between the two,” said McGuire, a superintendent for P&C Construction. “You’ve got to coordinate and work with so many people. There’s a lot of organization and logistics, but you also get that tangible aspect of building something out of the ground and getting the problem solved.”
This line of work, he said, is frequently fast-paced and chaotic. McGuire is in charge of monitoring around 100 employees on site every day, when anything may go wrong at any time, causing a cascade effect.
“You can be a week ahead of schedule and then in a matter of half a day, be a week behind schedule because it’s cyclical,” said McGuire. “One trade does something, then there’s three people it affects right after them.”
McGuire and the P&C Construction crew began working on his very own college freshman headquarters as soon as the spring semester ended.
McGuire said he was overcome with emotion as a flood of memories from his time as a student as he went inside the Walker Apartments. He said everything was the same, from the carpet to the cabinets.
“It’s cool, it’s full circle. To come back and give back to the University in the way that I’m giving back is in a way, a thank you,” said McGuire.
McGuire said this project also demonstrates UTC’s dedication to the construction management program and developing professionals capable of directing multimillion-dollar projects, including those on the UTC campus.
The Walker Apartments improvements are part of a multi-year renovation and remodeling project at UTC South Campus housing, and McGuire will continue to be involved.
Each summer, after months of planning, remodeling begins with tear-down, followed by rebuilding. The work begins the day students move out and ends the weekend before students return.
McGuire said he values how far the UTC construction program has come since he was a student and that he believes the program enhances UTC’s status as a destination institution.
“We’ve been fortunate that it [renovations] has gone smooth so far this year,” said McGuire. “Now I just want to continue across, and I want to build the next new building on campus.”