UT will soon begin construction on a $129 million, 228,000-square-foot building that will provide state-of-the-art research and classroom facilities for engineering students and faculty.
The new building will be located on the east side of campus near Neyland Stadium and will host a number of university programs.
An example of a public-private partnership that benefits the people of Tennessee, the project is funded with $90 million provided by the state, nearly $29 million from university sources, and $10 million from private donors as part of the university’s Join the Journey campaign.
The new building will significantly enhance the east side of UT’s campus and views of the campus from Neyland Drive.
The space is being framed as a gateway to engineering, providing students in engineering fields with hands-on experiences from their first day on campus. It will be used by the Tickle College of Engineering for the innovative freshman fundamentals curriculum offered in its Jerry E. Stoneking engage™ program and will also house the college’s Joseph C. and Judith E. Cook Grand Challenge Honors Program, Innovation and Collaboration Studio, nuclear engineering department, and laboratories for advanced engineering research.
The nuclear engineering department is ranked sixth in the country by US News and World Report, with the American Society for Engineering Education data listing it as having the most master’s and doctoral students in the nation.
Berry Hall, Estabrook Hall, and Pasqua Hall will be removed to make way for the building. Nuclear engineering, which was housed in Pasqua, has moved to the former Earth and Planetary Sciences Building until the project is complete.
Demolition work should begin this summer, with construction commencing in the fall. The tentative completion date is fall 2021.
The project will be closely coordinated with the first phase of improvements slated for Neyland Stadium, which will also begin in 2018.
“This project is the next step in fulfilling our commitment to provide students the best facilities, research opportunities, and classroom environments,” said Chancellor Beverly Davenport. “From freshmen stepping on campus for the first time to graduate students wrapping up research, this new building will help prepare our students to take on the world’s challenges.”
Knoxville’s McCarty Holsaple McCarty is the architectural firm leading the design team, while Smith Group, out of Detroit, is lending its expertise in designing lab spaces.
The facility will feature a central building with two wings of many as five stories. It will include a number of unique elements:
- Flexible research laboratories that can be adapted for use across any number of disciplines, designed to anticipate future laboratory needs
- Maker and project spaces where engineering students can build out their ideas in wood, metal, and other materials using 3D printing, laser-cutting, welding, and painting, all in a culture of safety
- Flexible classrooms that can be converted from one room with 128 seats to four smaller rooms with 32 seats for more personal instruction
- Numerous informal areas for student collaboration, observing student design work, and developing research plans
- A grand atrium welcoming all to engineering
- A UT Dining P.O.D. Market for food and drinks
The building will strengthen the connection between the university and some of its biggest partners—such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Y-12 National Security Complex—through upgraded nuclear engineering research capabilities, the ability to place collaborative teams in state-of-the-art research laboratories, and enhanced student training with engaged learning in the design spaces and adaptive classrooms.
The Tickle College of Engineering, now with 4,474 students, has increased its enrollment by more than 2,000 students in the past decade.
The new facility represents the latest step to address concerns found by a 2011 report from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. That study concluded that UT needed 870,000 square feet of additional space merely to meet the needs of the enrollment level at that time.
The new Strong Hall and the Ken and Blaire Mossman Building—to be completed in 2018—are also helping address the campus’s classroom and laboratory needs.