UT unveils its updated Master Plan

KNOXVILLE - University of Tennessee officials revealed their blueprint that could offer a good look into the future of the Knoxville campus.

The 2015 Master Plan focuses on building and renovating current buildings rather than knocking them down to rebuild.

The revisions are based on the 2011 Master Plan. The new plan is split into near-term, mid-term and long-term changes. Some of the changes could occur as soon as three years from now.

Associate Vice Chancellor of Facilities Services Dave Irvin held a public information meeting Monday night to unveil the new plan. It was the first of many meetings.

Irvin stressed the importance of public input throughout the decision-making. He said public opinion along with more research led to decisions on preserving certain buildings on campus rather than tearing them down.

"When you look at buildings on The Hill, for instance, there are wonderful buildings I would put against any campus in the country. To knock those down would be sort of like ripping out the heart of our campus," said Irvin.

Occupancy is a growing problem according to the new master plan. Irvin said a growing student population calls for more space for classes, labs and testing centers.

As a part of this plan, certain buildings will be renovated that were originally listed for demolition in the 2011 plan.

Irvin said there are many opportunities with some of existing buildings, and that growing upward with these structures can help with the urban campus look that UT is working toward.

The plan also includes changes to the institutional zone which expands the possibility for new properties that already exists outside of campus. The main focus is to maintain the character of existing buildings.

All plans are still preliminary and more public meetings will be used to gather information. You can follow any updates on the progress of this Master Plan at masterplan.utk.edu.

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