The first phase of the new Student Union opened its doors on June 1, and it’s going to make you wish you could be a student at UT once again. Here are some interesting facts about the new “heart” of campus.
- Construction began on the first phase of building in 2012, and the second phase is scheduled for completion in three years. When both phases are complete, the new Student Union will represent the single largest construction project in UT’s history
- There will certainly be plenty of good things to eat, with six dining options in phase one—Chick-fil-A, Qdoba, Salad Creations, AFC Sushi, Starbucks, and Subway. Two more options will open with the second phase, bringing the total number of dining seats up to 1,000. That’s more than double the number of seats in the University Center.
- Once completed, the entire building will be roughly twice the size of the University Center. The second phase will include a 1,000-seat auditorium and a 12,000-square-foot ballroom.
- An impressive glass and terrazzo staircase links four floors of the building, and there are plenty of orange highlights to be found in everything from seats to lighting fixtures. Alumni accomplishments, campus icons, and points of interest will be displayed through large-scale graphics and an artistic mural to be installed this summer.
- The new VolShop is 14,500 square feet and offers more than twice the amount of apparel than in its previous space. VolTech, an Apple authorized campus store, is twice the size of its prior location. VolBooks has expanded its space to offer the latest course materials, e-books, books, and class supplies.
- Green building features include a lighting system that adjusts to make best use of natural daylight to save on energy costs. All new UT buildings are built to meet LEED standards.
- The outside around the building was spruced up, too. Blueberry Falls, a water feature near Claxton Education building, was extended toward Philip Fulmer Way. A new pedestrian bridge now connects Pedestrian Walkway to the Hill, running through the new outdoor plaza and courtyard.
- The Alan and Wendy Wilson Center for Career Development suite now occupies the entire fifth floor of the building. The space includes offices for twenty-two staff members and ten student peer career advisors, fifteen interview rooms, an employer greeting room, and three video practice interview rooms. The floor also features two classrooms for workshops and other general functions.
- The building’s architectural features tie back to other buildings on campus with limestone cornices and copings, clay-tiled gable roofing, and copper guttering.
- Looking for a great view of Neyland Stadium? There’s an outstanding view from nearly every window in the building’s first phase.
Find out more about the new Student Union and other ongoing campus projects at Cone Zone.
Would you like to see your name in the new Student Union? Learn how you can support UT through recognition opportunities by contacting the Office of Development at 865-974-2115.