UT's new facelift: $1 billion in changes

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(WBIR) - The University of Tennessee has been undergoing a gradual facelift for several years now, and more change are on the way.

MORE: UT sees progress on campus construction

"We have five buildings getting complete renovations. Besides the student union opening up, we have $5 million going into landscaping," said David Irvin, associate vice chancellor of facilities services.

In the next few weeks, pieces of history will be torn down and brand new buildings will be opening their doors. It's all part of a $1 billion makeover on a UT campus overdue for some upgrades.

"We are transforming from a campus that was great in the 50's and 60's, maybe in the 70's, but was really kind of showing its age and was leapfrogged by other folks. We are building onto that campus, building on the Vol traditions, and launching it into the 21st century," Irvin said.

That includes more residence halls, landscaping products, and a $130 million dollar student union on Cumberland Avenue.

"We are going from an old 50's building to state of the art that people all over the country are looking to," Irvin said.

It's one that students will begin using very soon and just in time for summer classes.

"On May the 26th, the VolBooks and VolTech stores will be open on the ground level. That's GL3 of the new student union.

Everything else is still going to be closed off," said Drew Sims, assistant director at the VolShop.

That is until June 1. The university will officially open the student union then to the public. It'll have a lot of unique, valuable features.

"Outdoor patios, outdoor terraces, much more dining options than we currently have," Irvin said.

But that's not all that will be changing on campus this summer.

"We're preparing to change sidelines partners from Adidas to Nike," Sims said.

And with a new partner comes a brand new VolShop.

"The VolShop, when it opens on June 1, is going to almost double the amount of square footage and go to about 14,000 square feet," Sims said.

"There is really not any part of campus that isn't being touched in a pretty dramatic way," Irvin added.


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