KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — From stadium renovations to new dorms and the return of a popular on-campus ice cream parlor, a series of construction projects will reshape the University of Tennessee, Knoxville campus landscape over the next several years.
The university has several ongoing construction projects that are expected to be completed during the 2022-2023 academic school year and a half dozen more that are currently in the planning phase.
“We have been reaching new heights here on Rocky Top, setting records this year in new enrollment, student retention, research, state and donor funding, and more,” said Chancellor Donde Plowman. “From new academic buildings on our Knoxville campus to projects across the state, we are investing in the infrastructure needed to continue our momentum and deliver for our students and the people of Tennessee.”
Here’s a look at the major construction on the University of Tennessee system’s flagship campus.
Renovations on the historic home of Tennessee football won’t be fully completed until 2026, but there are several new features that fans will be able to enjoy during the 2022 season.
Construction on an all-new lower west sideline section is expected to be completed this fall. It will feature chair-back seat enhancements and access to a field-level club with restrooms, a bar area and food action stations. A new videoboard has also been placed in the stadium’s north end with a party deck space. The iconic V-O-L-S lettering near the south end zone video board have also been reinstalled.
The upgrades to the west sideline and north end zone are a part of a $288 million renovation plan for Neyland Stadium.
Joe Johnson–John Ward Pedestrian Mall
A facelift of a major campus thoroughfare is expected to be completed this fall.
The upgrades will remove surface parking from the center of campus and replace it with a pedestrian zone with dedicated bike lanes and a various seating options where Andy Holt Avenue previously stood.
UT Institute of Agriculture Teaching and Learning Center
A new teaching and learning center at the UT Institute of Agriculture will add 19,000-square feet to the College of Veterinary Medicine. The center will provide a new simulation and teaching laboratory for veterinary medicine as well as collaboration spaces and a new entrance to the Webster C. Pendergrass Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Library.
The construction on the $9 million building began in October 2020 and will replace a surface parking lot. It is expected to be completed this fall.
The UT Creamery is expected to open this fall in the former Visitors Center on Neyland Drive. The original UT Creamery first began producing milk and dairy products in 1972 when the Food Science and Technology Department was created. The creamery shut down in 1989.
The new iteration will be operated by students through a partnership between the Department of Food Science in UT’s Herbert College of Agriculture and the Rocky Top Institute in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences’ Department of Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management. UT Institute of Agriculture students will formulate ice cream flavors and source local milk.
Construction of a new park on the former site of the Morrill Hall Dormitory is expected to conclude in Spring 2023.
The park will feature a new stormwater management system that will redirect rain into water retention features that allow it to be absorbed into the ground instead of flowing into storm drains.
The urban park will feature outdoor teaching and recreation areas, new seating and a small body of water.
West Volunteer Boulevard Streetscape
With an anticipated completion in fall 2023, the project marks the final phase of the Volunteer Boulevard streetscaping work.
It aims to improve the Volunteer Boulevard pedestrian experience from UT Drive to Cumberland Avenue by removing on-street parking and adding new landscaping, lighting and plaza areas.
The project will also replace aging stormwater infrastructure with new features that collect runoff.
Construction projects in the design phase
Energy and Environmental Science Research Building
The planned 157,000-square-foot building will sit at the site of the former Ellington Life Sciences Building and Hollingsworth Auditorium. It is estimated to be completed in spring 2024.
The project will include research labs, classrooms, a 500-seat auditorium and a food venue for the UT Institute of Agriculture. A green roof will feature space for events and research while holding stormwater.
Jenny Boyd Carousel Theatre
Thanks in part to a $5 million gift from UT System President Randy Boyd and his wife, Jenny, the existing Carousel Theatre will be replaced with a flexible theatre space with multiple levels of seating, a lobby, greenroom and back-of-house support spaces.
The new theatre is projected to open in the fall of 2024 and house UT’s theatre programs which are consistently ranked among the best in the country.
“For me to have my name on the building just means everything to me, and I can’t wait to see the looks on children’s faces when they wander through the doors for the first time once it has been remade,” she said.
Croley Nursing Building
The $85-million, 117,000-square-foot state-of-the-art nursing facility will replace the existing nursing building that was constructed in 1977.
It will offer classrooms, simulation labs, research labs, offices, and a green roof. New plaza areas will accommodate large events, outdoor teaching space and a healing garden.
The new building will be named in honor of the class of 2000 graduate Sara Croley and her husband, Ross, who donated $7.5 million last year, the largest gift in the history of the college.
Construction projects in the planning phase
Plans to renovate the home of Tennessee baseball were first announced ahead of the 2022 NCAA Baseball Tournament. It will expand seating and club spaces, widen concourses and upgrade team facilities.
Before the renovation plans are finalized, the university is seeking feedback from fans to inform which renovations should be prioritized and gauge demand for certain seating options.
The announcement emphasized that seating options depicted in the renderings and the associated quantities could change based on the demand and seat deposits. The expected completion date and formal construction timeline is yet to be determined.
Haslam College of Business Expansion
The university plans to initiate the design phase of an expansion to the Haslam College of Business. It is expected to include a new building that will provide flexible classrooms and collaboration areas for students and faculty across university disciplines.
The design phase for two new residence halls is also expected to begin this fall. The halls will provide a total of 1300 new beds and include classroom spaces to be built on current surface parking areas.