After nine years of work, the University of Tennessee Knoxville has completed and opened a new Student Union, the university's largest construction project ever.
The university says in a news release that the 395,088-square-foot building will be the starting point of campus visits for the more than 30,000 prospective students and their families that visit campus each year. The facility will give students an idea of what it’s like to be on campus as they see other students utilizing the space.
“The Student Union is not just a building," says Ian Crone, director of the Student Union. "We want this to be a place for people to come and hang out with friends. I see this space as a home away from home for students. This space really serves as a crossroad between a student’s classes and their residence hall or off-campus housing.”
The first phase of the building opened in summer 2015. It is home to the VolShop, VolTech, VolBooks, dining options, and the Center for Career Development. The first phase and second phase of the new Student Union are connected by an expansive glass bridge.
The facility serves as a central location for many of the offices that students use regularly including the Center for Leadership and Service, the Center for Student Engagement, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life, and the Student Government Association.
The new space also provides more room for campus tours, allowing the Office of Undergraduate Admissions to welcome more families each day. The previous space only allowed 40 people while the new Student Union space allows 150 people to fit comfortably for information sessions.
“Our team is extremely excited about the new space,” says Associate Vice Provost and Director of Undergraduate Admissions Fabrizio D’Aloisio. “It’s a cutting-edge space that welcomes prospective students and lets us introduce them to our university in the heart of campus.”
Some of the other special features in the building:
•Welcome area information desk. When visitors walk in the front entrance of the Student Union, they will find an information desk where staff can answer their questions.
•Steak ‘n Shake and Rising Roll dining locations. The dining area has more than 140 seats to choose from when grabbing a meal.
•Union Station student recreation area. This area will feature video gaming, billiards, and table tennis, as well as space for small events.
Student art gallery. The gallery will include student work as well as traveling exhibits.
•Student organization suite. This area focuses on learning and leadership development while also providing a comfortable place for students to relax.
•UT Federal Credit Union branch location and ATM machines.
•Meeting and event spaces
•UCopy Printing and Design and Central Ticket Office.
The architects are a joint venture team of BarberMcMurry Architects/McCarty Holsaple McCarty Architects & Interior Designers. The contractor is Christman Company.
VIDEO: Explore the new Student Union. (University of Tennessee)