KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee System President Randy Boyd, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Tennessee Valley Authority President and CEO Jeff Lyash and Knox County Schools Superintendent Bob Thomas ceremonially cut a ribbon to celebrate the transition of the TVA East Tower into the UT Tower Tuesday morning.
The event was planned with COVID-19 health and safety protocols incorporated.
The ceremony comes after a nearly year-long coordinated effort to approve the building for UT System use. The UT System will move into the top six floors beginning next spring, while the remaining floors will be leased out to the Knox County Schools for its administrative offices.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to bring our teams together in a space that embodies who we are and how we work,” Boyd said. “The move will unite 396 UT employees currently working at multiple locations throughout Knoxville. Our move to the new UT Tower (formerly TVA East Tower) on the northeast end of Market Square truly is an opportunity for us to create greater collaboration, synergy, efficiency and sense of community.”
Mayor Jacobs agreed, adding that he looks forward to the heightened collaboration this move will create.
“Beyond the incredible savings we got on this deal, the opportunity to have the region’s two largest education systems operating under one roof, I know, will prove to be invaluable,” Mayor Jacobs said.
The move was first unanimously approved by the UT Board of Trustees in November 2019, followed by approval from the state building commission in June 2020.
The tower will consolidate four UT offices across six miles into one collective space. The UT Foundation, which is currently located on University Avenue, will also move into the tower.
A majority of the UT System staff currently work in Andy Holt Tower, which will need an estimated $50 million in renovations in the future. The move also opens up space in the UT Conference Center, located on Henley Street, for the audiology and speech pathology department, which has been housed in South Stadium Hall below Neyland Stadium.
The UT System expects to move into UT Tower during the spring of 2021.