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UT sees progress on campus construction | News

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UT sees progress on campus construction
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More than $1 billion of improvements are happening all over the University of Tennessee's campus. For staff, spring is the peak season for progress.

Several things have already been completed, like the new pedestrian bridge and the Fred Brown Residence Hall.

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"It's crazy seeing things shoot up all over campus," said Lucas Cooper, UT sophomore. "The No. 1 thing - the Fred Brown Residence Hall. That thing was just being built when I was a freshman."

Several additional projects will soon observe major milestones, while a few new upgrades will kick off later this spring.

"It is a mess, but it's definitely bettering the campus. Everything is starting to look nicer," said Corinne Smith, UT sophomore.

According to UT officials, it's just the beginning. There are multiple projects underway including the construction of Strong Hall, which will become a nine-story classroom and laboratory facility. Also, phase one of the new Student Union will be finished in late spring. The project is projected to cost $170 million.

"What's really exciting is we are taking the best of the past in terms of the buildings on The Hill and what it means to be at the University of Tennessee," said David Irvin, associate vice chancellor at Facilities Services. "We are engaging that and positioning ourselves for the future."

On top of the billion-dollar facility upgrades comes $20 million in landscaping. All meant to improve the look of the campus, while maintaining its history and tradition.

"We have some great buildings, but so far we haven't built a great campus," said Irvin. "We have some wonderful places like The Hill and the Mall. What we are able to do because we are doing over a billion dollars in construction, we are able to link those projects together."

Second Creek, Circle Park, and Torchbearer Plaza will all be seeing landscaping changes before the Vols are back on the football field in August.

"Torchbearer is an iconic landmark and symbol for this university," Irvin explained. "We really want to enhance that area. It's looking a little tired. We are going to be completely redoing all the landscaping there, all of the plaza. We are going to expand it so that on game day and during the Vol Walk, there are more places for our fans and students."

The Circle Park renovation will begin in May and will include new sidewalks, trees, landscaping, sod, and irrigation systems. The rebuilding of Torchbearer Plaza includes adding elements like benches, trees along the street, and a new path from the plaza to Circle Park.

Both projects are expected to be completed in August, according to UT officials.

Students said they have seen a lot change in their short time at UT and they are still excited for what is left to come.

"I can already tell it's going to look pretty amazing once it's all finished," said Cooper.


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