Planning the future of a major college campus is a tedious process, and UTC’s Master Plan is a plan that’s constantly changing.
Nearly a decade ago, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga was in the final stages of releasing its master plan that would be used to plan for about 15,000 students in the next decade. A new plan is in development which has just passed phase one.
“We’ve just finished stage one and are going to phase two, which hones in on what the plan will look like. Phase three will be finalizing the plan, and phase four will be the approvals,” said Tyler Forrest, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration.
Since the Master Plan in 2012 was initiated, more than $400 million in new capital improvements have been made on the UTC campus. UTC has added significant facility upgrades, including the New Library building, Lupton Hall Building, Health Sciences Building, and Life Sciences building.
The latest Master Plan for UTC is in the early stages of development, where UTC senior leadership has completed the data gathering portion of phase one, which will determine the immediate and future needs of the University.
“In the data collection period, we gather everything from building utilization, potential enrollment growth, building assessments, and things that will formulate the ten-year capital plan, which will be aligned with the strategic plan,” said Tyler Forrest, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration.
The first phase of the development of the master plan focuses on people and data, precisely the thoughts of students. “There have been many occasions when I come back onto campus from the weekend to full parking lots,” said Kenley Cathcart, a Sophomore at the University. “It is always frustrating to pay for a parking pass and not be able to find a parking spot.”
UTC is one of the fastest-growing campuses in the UT system and has a shortage of 1200 beds at an enrollment of 13,000, plus an additional 500 beds at an enrollment of 15,000.
Once the plan’s development moves to phase three, the plan is on to the approval process. “We must get approval from the UTC campus advisory board, the UT board of trustees, and the Tennessee State Building Commission, all of which will occur later this calendar year,” said Forrest. “The new plan, just like the previous plan, will focus on new buildings but will have a continued focus on UTC becoming a pedestrianized campus.”
Like many will tell you, there will always be changes no matter how much one might plan for. The University had plans to acquire property at 609 Houston Street but was later denied acquisition by the UTC Christian Student Center, the property owner.
“UTC gave us a generous offer, but like the University, we knew the value of the property far outweighed any offer we might get,” said Craig Allison, the Campus Minister at the Center. “We hope to grow with the campus, and with every passing year, we become more of a center point for students.
According to UTC officials, the University is on track to release the plan in early 2023.