Library Building Project

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Original Announcement

Excitement is in the air as planning begins for a new library at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (UTC). Governor Phil Bredesen and the Tennessee Legislature have provided one-time funds in the amount of 48 million dollars to plan and build the new library. The current UTC Library building has a gross square footage of 116,349 and is no longer adequate, due to its size and design, to serve the needs of the students and faculty. Equally important, since the current Library’s opening in 1974 library usage patterns and student learning styles have changed dramatically. The new library is anticipated to be approximately 180,000 gross square feet which equates to gain of just over 60,000 square feet from the existing library building.

Since 1974 UTC has increased enrollment by over two-thirds, growing from a count of approximately 4,574 to 9,553 students in 2007. The existing Library originally had a seating capacity of 1,100 which has decreased to approximately 670 seats due to necessary additions of shelving, technology, and new learning spaces. The Library opened its doors with 170,000 books and periodicals in its collection and now, over 30 years later, the collection has grown to over 1.7 million pieces of materials, including books, online resources, periodicals, DVDs, CDs, microfilm, etc. Another major development has been the explosion of online materials and search tools not on the horizon in 1969 when the old library was programmed. Due to the construction design of the existing Library building, with water pipes above and below floors, adapting the space for current student needs has been challenging, when possible at all. Overall, a space analysis conducted in the year 2000 found the existing Library 58,575 square foot deficiency, per THEC standards.

The UTC Library in the form of its staff members, collections and services supports and serves the research and curricular needs of students and faculty. Last year the Library fielded just under 12,000 research questions, taught over 300 instructional sessions reaching over 5,800 students, filled over 13,000 interlibrary loan requests, circulated over 34,000 items, 9,000 laptops, and provided group study space to approximately 4,800 groups.

The faculty, staff, and students assistants at the Lupton Library envision the new Library as the academic and intellectual center of campus, a marketplace of ideas. The new Library will be the focal point for collaborative research and teaching in the 21st century. In building a new space, the UTC Library seeks to blend old traditions with new developments in library usage -- carrels providing quiet study among book stacks on one floor, complemented by comfortable chairs, wireless laptops, and an area designated as information commons to enhance group study and the navigation of library databases and other electronic tools on another. The new library will offer an academic and social gathering place for students, faculty, and members of the academic community through classrooms, labs, meeting and event spaces, and technology-equipped study areas and rooms. The Library’s goal is to create a warm, welcoming environment that brings UTC community members together to study, work, and relax.

The Library as the academic and intellectual heart of the campus is the core philosophy that will drive the design process. A library committee, composed of faculty and staff, was formed in July and has conducted site visits to newly built and renovated libraries. A New Library Program Statement Committee, composed of discipline faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community representatives, is now underway. In an effort to create an open, collaborative, and transparent process, all information about the project, including meeting minutes, photographs, videos, etc. are available on this wiki. Please contact Theresa Liedtka at with any questions regarding the project.

Program Statement

Building Fact Sheet (June 2012)

Project Background

  • The current Lupton Library opened in 1974 with:
    • 4,574 enrolled student, now 9,807
    • 1,100 patron seats at opening, now 675
    • 170,000 volumes, now 1.7 million items
  • The current library is 116,000 gross square feet.
  • A renovation and expansion to the Library has been on the UTC Capital Project list since before 1990.
  • In 2000 the Tennessee Higher Education Commission found the current library building deficient by 58,575 square feet.
  • Student learning styles and habits have changed significantly since the current library was first opened as have information research and scholarly practices.

The Facts

  • Project Funded: July 2007
  • Target Completion Date: December 2013
  • Anticipated Opening: Spring 2014
  • Project Dollar Amount: 48 million
  • Estimated Gross Sq. Ft.: 180,000 over 5 floors
  • Estimated Usable Sq. Ft.: 126,000 – 144,000
  • Site Location: Corner of Vine and Douglas, adjacent to Chamberlain Field
  • Project Architect: Derthick, Henley & Wilkerson/Artech (Joint Venture)
  • Project Timeline:
    • November 2007 to January 2009: Draft program statement
    • February 2009 to August 2010: Prepare design and construction documents
    • September 2010 to April 2011: Submit final document to Tennessee State Fire Marshall for approval
    • May 2011 to June 2011: Bidding and contract award process
    • July 2011 to December 2013: Construction of new library, furniture move-in, and information technology installations
    • January 2014: Move in to new library building

The Details

The new LEED-certified library is chockfull of new strategic campus partnerships and is envisioned as the premier location for student academic needs outside the classroom. New and expanded partnerships represented in the new building include: Art Department, Center for Advisement and Student Success, Copy Services, Graduate Student Association, Information Technology Division, Office of Students with Disabilities, Online Education, Southern Writers, Teaching Resource Center, and Writing Center. Designed with a robust technological infrastructure and themes of transparency, collaboration, and flexibility, student access and success was at the center of building planning processes.

  • 38 study rooms (30 small, 6 medium, 2 large)
  • 3 practice presentation rooms
  • 24 hour student study space
  • 4 lounges (2 quiet, computer and graduate student)
  • Café (a big one!)
  • Information commons
  • Advanced media studio and creator space
  • Over 200 desktop computers (and a yet to be determined number of laptops)
  • Seating for over 2,100
  • 7 classrooms
  • 8 seminar and conference rooms
  • 29 faculty and graduate student carrels
  • 2 visiting scholar rooms
  • Grand reading room
  • Moveable compact stacks with storage for ~600,000 volumes
  • New materials browsing area (think more Barnes and Noble)
  • Expanded special collections storage with unique climate controls
  • New auditorium housing 2 lecture halls of ~200 seats each adjacent to the new library.

Project Timeline

Design and Graphics


Other Images

Archival Images for Interior Walls Consideration



Live Video Feed of Construction Site

Additional Documentation

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