(WBIR - Knoxville) As University of Tennessee students head back to class they are noticing some big changes around campus with more to soon follow.
John Brown is a senior at the university who said a lot has changed during his four years at UT.
"Back when I was here it seemed kind of older and needed some upgrades and now those upgrades are finally happening. I'm kind of a little bitter about it honestly because I'm not going to be able to enjoy it like these upcoming freshmen are," said Brown.
More than $1 billion in improvements are happening all over UT's campus. The Fred Brown Residence Hall, the first on campus dormitory built in 45 years, is already finished.
There's also more than $5 million in landscaping improvements, including a new pedestrian bridge that connects the Haslam Business Building and the new University Center with The Hill. The words "The University of Tennessee" can be seen displayed on the walkway from Phillip Fulmer Way.
"It's really exciting for the record class that we have of freshmen that just started today. In the time that they're going to be here that billion dollars in projects are going to happen while they're here," said UT Facilities Services Associate Vice Chancellor Dave Irvin.
The new student union, a $170 million project, is still under construction. Crews are also expected to finish another new residence hall and parking garage in fall 2016.
But as Vol Nation prepares for another intense season of football, UT's Facilities Services said construction will not get in the way of fans.
"The streets won't be closed. The sidewalks won't be closed. All of our fans can experience all of the campus in the ways that they normally do and as we finish these projects they'll be more amenities for them when they come to visit us," said Irvin.
In the end, the university said fans and students will be able to enjoy a more modernized campus, something Senior John Brown said has been needed for at least his four years as a Vol.
"It's definitely really starting to come together and look like a cohesive campus, which I can really appreciate."