By: Charles Walker  

This artist’s rendering shows plans for the renovations to McKenzie Arena and the new Wolford Family Athletics Center at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. The planned construction is now expected to cost $22 million, according to estimates approved last week by the State Building Commission.

Chattanooga, Tenn.- The long awaited plan to begin construction on a football only athletic facility  is underway as the city of Chattanooga and the university have come to terms on the budget for the project. The new facility will be named the “Wolford family athletic facility,” in honor of the late Bucky Wolford, a former UTC all-american, a local businessmen, and longtime university booster. 

The university’s finalized budget includes finances for not only the 49,360 square foot Wolford athletic facility, but also for additions and renovations of the 26,300 square foot Mckenzie arena itself. According to Mark Wharton, the University Athletic Director, the 37 year old arena, which is the home of the men’s basketball team, has only seen minor upgrades since the arena doors first opened in 1982. 

CBY61F aerial photograph Finley Stadium, Davenport Field, Chattanooga, Tennessee

As the football program at Chattanooga has increasingly excelled over the last decade, the demand for advanced facilities has grown exponentially. The new technologically advanced facility will create a vast recruiting edge over the competition, and has sparked a growing anxiety within the football athletic staff.

 UTC tight Ends Coach, Jacob Huesman, says, “The new facility will not only give the university an edge in recruiting, but also will aid tremendously in growing and developing a championship caliber team.”

Construction will take place on the north side of campus, and will connect to Mckenzie arena between gate 1 and the main loading ramp located at the corner of 5th and Mabel street. The university is said to have a meeting scheduled with the city sometime in the next couple weeks in attempts to finalize the location of the facility. 

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