A sign in front of the recently renovated Lupton Hall advertises its new campus dining option, Freshens. The new dining option offers smoothies, wraps, rice bowls, and salads. Wednesday, August 26, 2020 (Photo by Stephanie Swart)

From Frist to Lupton: How UTC’s Newest Addition is Affecting Campus

By Luke Dammann

CHATTANOOGA, TN (mocsnews.com) Lupton Hall has been available for student and faculty use for close to a full semester now leaving many to wonder how it’s affected UTC’s campus.

What used to be UTC’s old library building back in the day has now been transformed into a state-of-the-art, multi-level and multi-function building for students and faculty alike.

Offering three floors of high-tech classrooms, new offices for several departments and even a new vegan-friendly restaurant in the form of Freshens, Lupton Hall was and is a huge addition to UTC and will be an incredible resource for years to come.

Students utilize the open space and socially distanced seating of Lupton Hall’s first floor. After 16 months of construction, Lupton Hall welcomed mask wearing students and faculty in August of 2020. Wednesday, August 26, 2020 (Photo by Stephanie Swart)

The new Lupton Hall building, while housing multiple resources for UTC’s campus, also now acts as the Communications department building, shifting students and faculty away from Frist Hall.

Rumors have persisted for years of Frist Hall being renovated or even demolished entirely for more parking space, but as of now, Frist Hall remains standing where it has been for nearly 70 years right off of Oak Street.  

From conception to actual boots on the ground construction, Lupton Hall took quite a while to take shape, even causing the famous Cardiac Hill to be unusable for multiple weeks. 

The planning phase of this ambitious renovation began a little over five years ago, the budget of which reached an estimated $33 million dollars.

During its construction, Danny West, UTC’s construction services manager, said the Lupton project was extremely important, not only because of the innovative technology inside but the extra space it offered to students. 

Luke Dammann reporting on Lupton Hall’s construction. November, 2019 (Prod. by Luke Dammann)

The project was completed right as school started this August and with a footprint as big as Lupton’s, many are wondering how it has changed and affected campus, especially those who have made the transition from Frist Hall to Lupton Hall. 

Dr. Michael McClusky, one of UTC’s well established professors of communications explained his experience and how jarring working in Lupton has been during the pandemic.

“First, being in Lupton during pandemic conditions can be bizarre. The hallways and rooms are set up for people, yet there are few students or faculty around on a typical day,” said Dr. McClusky, “As for the contribution to campus, it looks promising. We’re closer to places to eat and It should help campus overall by using a building in such a prominent space on campus.”

“Lupton Hall is a big upgrade”, says Mark Kennedy, another communications professor at UTC and Times Free Press columnist, explaining the experience of moving from Frist Hall, “The classrooms are spacious. I think when we get back to mostly face-to-face learning, the improvements will be even more apparent.”

Workers are seen adding the finishing touches at the Freshens eatery Aug 17, 2020 in Lupton Hall.

As UTC attempts to shift to more in-person classes and face-to-face meetings, it is unclear what the future of education will look, not only here locally but everywhere. One thing is for sure however, Lupton Hall is and will be a promising and huge asset to UTC.

Get to know your way around Lupton here.

About Luke Dammann

Luke Dammann is a senior at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and is majoring in communications, with a minor in criminal justice.

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