Demolition begins on exterior of Stokely Athletics Center and Gibbs Hall

Demolition has begun on the exterior of some iconic buildings on Tennessee's campus.

Heavy equipment started tearing down Stokely Athletics Center and Gibbs Hall this week. The demolition will make room for a new residence hall among other plans.

The new residence hall will then be built close to the current Gibbs Hall location and open to students in the summer 2016. It will have 729 single-occupancy rooms with shared living areas. The 33,000-square-foot residence hall will be open to male and female students. The hall's dining facility will be open to all students, faculty, and staff. The $94 million project will be financed through student housing fees and revenue bonds.

Expanding Haslam Field is the third phase of the project, with a completion date of 2016. Once completed, the facility will have three full-size exterior grass outdoor practice fields along with the nearby indoor full-size practice field. This project is estimated to cost $10 million and will be funded solely by a private donor.

Built in 1958, Stokely Athletic Center closed its doors for good in December 2012. Memorabilia from its decades as home of the Volunteer men's and women's basketball teams is stored in other areas of campus. Gibbs Hall, which was built in 1963, closed to residents last spring. The dining hall portion of the building closed in December.

More of the plan includes: Tearing down North Carrick, South Carrick, Humes, Reese, Morrill and the Apartment Residence Hall and replacing them with three to four level buildings in a village-style community. They also plan to add a new dining facility.

Right now, the university is seeking approval from the Board of Trustees and the State Building Commission to add these six buildings to an already approved plan to demolish and rebuild Shelbourne Towers.

The university has an aggressive timeline. They want to have it all finished in five years by 2019.

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