Students have started moving into the University of Tennessee's new residence hall.
The Stokely Family Residence Hall opened January 5 after two years of construction. UT is relocating 684 students to the new building from Reese Hall, a 50-year-old dorm scheduled to close later this year.
Stokely Hall is 370,000 square feet, and features a new dining facility, two “retail centers,” a convenience store and a Starbucks. It is located on Lake Loudon Boulevard, adjacent to a new parking garage.
The new facility will house a mixture of first through fourth year students, though it currently consists of mostly first- and second-years. The residence hall will consist of 49 percent student-athletes and the rest will be from the general student body. The student-athletes are not expected to move in until fall 2017.
Stokely Hall is the first at UT to feature “super suites”- a housing layout described as a “full apartment minus the kitchen.” The dorm has three and four-bedroom models, with shared bathrooms and living areas. Students access the hall using their ID cards.
UT officials said the new dining facility is a highlight of Stokely. The Fresh Food Company features eight individual food stations and seats 750 people. The food is prepared directly in front of students, and does not have a kitchen area behind closed doors.
“It’s not your standard institutional, cafeteria-style, meat-and-three,” said Jeff Maples, Sr. Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration at UT. “You’ll see a wide variety of options, and it changes every day.”
Maples added that the new dining facility provides healthier options to students, with more variety and an “upscale” feel. While the Fresh Food Company is included in the UT meal plan, it is also open to the public. The dining facility is open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Ellie Jelinek, a freshman at UT, recently moved into Stokely. She said after living in a dorm built in the 1960s, the new building was a welcome change for her and her roommates.
“We’ve literally been counting down the days until we moved here,” she said. “It’s awesome, I love it. We would not have wanted anything else.”
Stokely Hall was named in honor of the Stokely family, who have served the university at all levels.