KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – The University of Tennessee, Knoxville has been growing at a rapid rate. Just this year the school had to rent out a hotel for transfer students due to lack of available student housing. So, how is UT addressing this issue while still bringing in new students every semester?
The answer? Expansion. The Campus Master Plan was approved Thursday by the Board of Trustees after a 16-month development process, outlining everything from new buildings to road projects and improvement to athletics facilities. It brings the school one step closer to a transformation that would allow them to serve more students on campus.
The full Campus Master Plan will be submitted to Tennessee Higher Education Commission in early March. Chancellor Donde Plowman will present the plan to the commission in May before UT System President Randy Boyd presents it to the State Building Commission for approval in June.
The university has seen record growth over the past few years with enrollment numbers up to almost 34,000 students this year.
“It’s become the ‘it campus’,” Boyd said. “Everybody from around the country wants to come to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.”
The expansion of the school as a result of that growth is laid out in the master plan.
“Our growth has been a result of a strategic plan for preparing for the drop in the birthrate,” Plowman said. “That will drop the number of available students in this state.”
“It’s a dream, it’s a plan and it’s a vision for accommodating that growth and be able to maintain and enrich a better student experience,” she said.
This is not the first time the school has seen growth and it is actually something that the university is accustomed to.
“Growth is fundamental to who we are,” UT Trustee John Compton said. “We are fortunate enough to be in the position that we are to be able to take advantage of that growth.”
All of that growth does come with some challenges, but it is something that the university is prepared to handle. UT President Randy Boyd said that even as the school continues to grow, they want to make sure that they are still giving a quality experience to their students.
Along with the approval of the master plan, the Board of Trustees also approved new academic units. The School of Music will be converted into a standalone College of Music; the Howard Baker Junior Center for Public Policy will now be a school of Public Policy and Public Affairs, and a College of Emerging and Collaborative Studies will be established.
UT’s website said it will be a “home for new degree programs drawn from multiple colleges while responding to changes in fields of inquiry and emerging workforce opportunities.”0
Click here to view the latest Campus Master Plan presentation and visit masterplan.utk.edu for more information on the future of the campus.