Campus Getting Ambitious Makeover
We’re striving to be a Top 25 public research university and we need to look like one.
About 26,000 prospective students and parents tour our campus each year. What they see, and how it makes them feel about UT, make a big difference. First impressions are important.
Over the years, our university has been criticized for being unattractive. The Princeton Review recently ranked us sixth on its list of least attractive campuses.
Our landscape master plan outlines an ambitious makeover for our campus. The planned improvements will emphasize new buildings, add green spaces and pedestrian gathering places, and give our campus a more cohesive look. We want to better display our campus's natural beauty, enhance our landscaping with native sustainable plants, and establish a connection between sections of our campus.
We’ve already enhanced the various entrances to our campus and the Hill. We’re in the midst of landscaping Lake Loudoun Boulevard. Much more work is coming in the next two years. Here’s a look at four major projects we’ve got planned:
- Volunteer Boulevard will undergo a major transformation. We’ll eliminate on-street parking, add bike lanes, and enhance the landscaping.
- The Pedestrian Mall will be extended west past the new residence hall to Pat Head Summitt Street, and east to Phillip Fulmer Way. The historic timeline will be extended. The walkway will extend from Volunteer Boulevard to the base of the hill. Alongside it, in the area that was Andy Holt Avenue, we’ll enhance the landscaping and triple the size of Blueberry Falls, the water feature now limited to the area next to the Claxton Complex.
- Presidential Court will get a significant makeover. We’ll add lots of greenery as well as an amphitheater, sitting walls, and places for small group gatherings.
- We’ll enhance the landscaping to tie together the space around the engineering buildings—Science and Engineering, Perkins, Ferris, and Dougherty Halls. We’ll add some tables and chairs and create spaces that can be used as outdoor classrooms.
Dave Irvin, associate vice president for facilities, said similar large-scale streetscaping and landscaping plans have had dramatic impacts at other campuses, including Clemson, Georgia Tech, and the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"The makeover we’ve got planned for our campus will create a synergy of success that will feed other projects," he said. "The appearance of our campus can help us recruit students and faculty."
To read more about our landscape master plan, see masterplan.utk.edu/landscape.