KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Students, staff, and faculty gathered with friends of the University of Tennessee Friday in celebration of Strong Hall's official opening. The building is the university's newest state-of-the-art classroom and laboratory building.
"It is such a beautiful space, and space matters," said Chancellor Beverly Davenport during the ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday. "The nation's eyes are on us because of this building."
The building's three-year construction ended last spring, and the building opened for summer classes in June. The 268,000-square-foot building includes general purpose classrooms that can be converted into flexible teaching spaces. The building also boasts 150- and 250-seat lecture halls.
The Division of Biology and the Departments of Chemistry, Anthropology and Earth and Planetary Sciences are housed inside the new Strong Hall.
The new building is on the site of the original Sophronia Strong Hall, UT's first women's residence hall, that opened in 1926 and housed 50 women. Benjamin Strong left the university a gift to build the building in honor of his mother, who lived from 1812 to 1867.
The new building includes original stone archways, which were reinstalled on the west side arcade facing Clement Hall. Stone pieces that were carved with the names of the first five female students enrolled at UT were saved as part of honoring the site's history on the east side of the building's exterior.
A part of the original hall was saved and attached to the main hall and is being used as exhibit space and conference rooms inside the main corridor.
The total budget for the building was $114 million, of which the state provided $75 million.