New Student Union


Phase 1 of New Student Union Underway!

On Friday afternoon, March 16, 2012, construction officially began on your new Student Union! The new Union will occupy the same space as the current University Center, as well as the space occupied by the UC Garage and several buildings along Volunteer Boulevard. It will be constructed in two phases, minimizing service interruptions for the University community. For information and updates regarding the project, including tips on navigating around the construction site, visit the Cone Zone, or click on one of the three links at the bottom of this page.

Project Overview

The $160 million new Student Union will replace the current University Center, which was built in 1952 and then expanded and remodeled in 1967.

The project is funded through existing student and user fees, and the facility will be at least 50 percent larger than the existing structure.

The new Student Union will enhance services for our students and the entire community through a larger auditorium/performance venue; additional program, conference, and meeting space; a much larger ballroom for larger events and banquets; a new and expanded book and technology store; and more dining options.


  • The Student Union will celebrate UT history and traditions
  • The facility is being designed and constructed for LEED building standards
  • A 50,000-square-foot bookstore (compared to the current 33,260-square-foot store)
  • Ten dining establishments and more than 1,000 seats (compared to the current 460 seats)
  • A 10,000-square-foot, 1,000-seat auditorium (compared to current 5,396-square-foot, 532-seat auditorium)
  • A 12,000-square-foot ballroom with the capacity to seat 800 for banquets and 1,200 for lectures (compared to the current 3,942-square-foot-ballroom that can seat 300 to 450 people for a banquet)
  • Career Services office space
  • VolCard office space
  • Student Government Association office space
  • Additional space for other student organizations

Project Phases


Phase one, now underway, consists of five stories that will house the book and technology stores, campus dining, and Career Services. Concrete walls and floors are forming the shell of the structure. The lowest level’s walls and floor are done, and work is continuing upward, a floor at a time.

The old University Center garage, the Temple Court and Aconda Court buildings, the former Student Counseling Center, and a building at 812 Volunteer Boulevard were demolished to accommodate the construction.

This first phase of the new Student Union is expected to be completed in 2015.


The next phase of construction will include additional dining areas, the auditorium and ballroom, a student recreation area, lounges, and additional program, conference, and meeting space. It also will extend the building’s footprint westward toward Volunteer Boulevard.

The new Student Union, which will be at least 50 percent larger than the current University Center, should be completed in 2017.

 North View Camera (Haslam Business Building)
South View Camera (Neyland Stadium)