The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

 

Student Wellness Center Site Selection Underway

The campus community is invited to cast a vote on a site for the new student wellness and recreation center, scheduled to begin construction in fall 2004. The student body voted to use an activity fee increase to build the facility, which will include an indoor track, gym, and a recreational aquatics center.

Faculty, staff, students, and other interested parties gathered for a planning charrette on Tuesday to consider the three sites: the parking lot adjacent to the racquet center, the field across from McKenzie Arena, and Parking Lot 3 across from Maclellan gym. Andy Roth, the architect chosen to design the facility, said all three sites are viable and each has a different set of pros and cons.

Other presenters during the meeting included Jeff Pfitzer from the City of Chattanooga. He discussed updates on city construction projects and how they will affect traffic flow around campus, including the 2-way conversion of McCallie Avenue and M.L. King Blvd. and the street work along the riverfront.

Linda Collins, professor biological and environmental sciences at UTC and a member of the UTC Campus Landscaping Committee, presented details of the campus landscape plan and how the three sites are incorporated into the plan. “We want the outside of our campus to reflect the excellence that goes on in the classroom,” said Collins.

Janet Spraker from the UTC Division of Facilities Planning and Management discussed parking issues and the campus master plan, including future development at Engel Stadium. University officials expect to have intramural fields ready for use at Engel within nine months.

Spraker commented that the University’s Planned Use Development (PUD) designation requires a specific number of parking spaces be available as compared to specific land use. Two of the proposed sites for the construction displace parking and affect the PUD. In the future, additional parking garages will be necessary and could result in increased parking costs.

Leroy Fanning, a UTC faculty member and a nationally recognized authority on recreation site selection and management, presented his analysis of each site and endorsed the site at Parking Lot 3. “The proximity of this site to Maclellan Gymnasium and to the newly expanded University Center will create a triangle of activity for the campus.” He also emphasized the importance of maintaining fields for use by the Exercise Science, Health, and Leisure Studies Department. “The field across from McKenzie Arena is a classroom for our department. We teach classes there. So we’re not just talking about losing green space, which this campus needs, but an academic facility.”

Cast your vote until Wednesday, November 26. When asked for your registration code, enter your OneNet account user name (UTC ID).

Some of the pros and cons offered for each site include:

Site A Pros (adjacent to the racquet center)

  • Proximity to racquet center and tennis courts could be joined to create a larger recreation center.
  • Elevation problems not a major issue for design/construction.

Site A Cons

  • Displaces parking spaces.
  • Not connected to the University’s central energy system, so that will add to costs.
  • Current racquet center not visually and structurally adapted to plans for new facility so there will be need to mesh the two facilities.

Site B Pros (field across from McKenzie Arena)

  • Cheapest site to build on
  • No elevation problems
  • Enables the construction of a beautiful, new facility at the campus’ front door
  • On central energy system

Site B Cons

  • Loss of green space
  • Loss of academic field space
  • Band practice field

Site C Pros (lot 3 near Maclellan gym)

  • Endorsed by Athletics Department
  • Endorsed by Exercise Science, Health and Leisure Studies Department
  • Proximity to Maclellan gym and University Center
  • On central energy system

Site C Cons

  • Loss of Parking
  • Elevation issues present design and construction challenges
  • Most expensive site to build on