(WBIR) Two well-known buildings that have deep connections with the UT athletics program will soon be nothing more than rubble.
On Thursday, the university announced plans for a summer 2014 demolition of the Stokely Athletics Center and Gibbs Hall. Stokely was the home of the basketball Vols for many years before the eventual move to Thompson-Boling Arena. It closed in 2012.
Gibbs Hall housed many student athletes since it opened in the 1960s. Dorms are closed, but dining services remain.
Students said the drab exteriors of these buildings did not reflect on surrounding projects around campus.
"With the Haslam Building right across from it, it looks very new and updated and modern," said freshman Victoria Olivarez. "It would be nice to have total redecoration and something new."
That "new" includes the following plans to be built on the site of Stokely and Gibbs:
- First to build a 1,000-space parking garage along Volunteer Boulevard, costing $24.4 million. It is expected to finish in summer 2015.
- Second to build a 600 bed co-ed resident hall, with added services like dining. That will cost $64.3 million and is planned for a summer 2016 completion date.
- Third, an extension to the current Haslam football practice field. According to UT, a sole private donation will fund the $10 million project. That is expected to start in 2016.
"I definitely think there's parking needed on campus," said UT junior Austin Fullbright. "Finding parking spaces on campus and driving around for a long time looking for those and it kind of affects the way they plan out their day."
Students said they're excited over the developments that are about to happen, knowing there's a "what" and a "when" in place.
"I'm really excited for everything that's being built and being reconstructed. It'll definitely have a glossy effect on UT," Olivarez said.