(WBIR - Knoxville) Work has begun on demolishing two University of Tennessee buildings, the Stokely Athletics Center and Gibbs Hall.
UT said Thursday the first step in the demolition is to safely remove the asbestos from inside the buildings. The work has closed off through traffic at Stokely on Johnny Majors Drive. Once the abatement process finishes, the actual demolition of the two buildings will start. The contractor said the demolition should be finished by summer.
In place of the Stokely and Gibbs will be a new student residence hall with dining and a parking garage.
The parking garage will be house 1,000 vehicles and will cost $31.8 million, paid for by parking fees and revenue bonds. It's expected to be finished by the summer of 2015.
The new, 33,000 sq. ft. residence hall will have 729 single-student rooms and will be open to both male and female students. UT said it will cost $94 million and is expected to open to students in the summer of 2016.
A 3rd phase in the renovations calls for expanding Haslam Field, which, upon completion, will have three full-size outdoor practice fields and another full-size, indoor practice field. UT said the project estimated to cost $10 million and will be paid for by a private donor.
Stokely Athletic Center closed in December 2012. Gibbs Hall closed to students in December 2013.