UTC department moves into Metro Building

UTC department moves into Metro Building

December 14th, 2013 by Jeff LaFave in Local Regional News

Lamar McBrayer, left, and Maury Howard look at furnishings at the new home of the Health and Human Performance Department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

Photo by Angela Lewis /Times Free Press.

It was your just average moving day: Cardboard boxes. Packing tape. Anatomy posters. Dusty weight-room equipment. A 100-count package of sterile test tubes.

Starting Wednesday, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga used the spare days of winter break to move its Department of Health and Human Performance across campus. As foremen and construction workers assembled desks and hooked up telephones, it wasn't uncommon to see a bench press or sit-up seat roll by.

Finally, the department will all be in one space.

"We had a kitchen in one building, a gym in one building and a lab in another," said department head Gary Liguori, who has been with the program for 18 months. "The primary need was space and a contemporary space, at that."

Health and Human Performance's primary headquarters was in the Maclellan Gym, which will now be occupied by the Department of Student Health. Now the HHP department resides on the south side of the shining Metro Building complex, on the northeast corner of McCallie Avenue and Houston Street.

The university acquired the building in the 1990s from the owners of the former Metropolitan Hospital, a 64-bed hospital that was founded in 1952. About $4.6 million went into the renovation of the Metro Building -- currently occupied by the nursing program and television studios -- so that Liguori and his growing cast of 19 full-time faculty members could also call it home.

Liguori said most construction objectives should be complete by the weekend, although little tasks like phone set-up and Internet networking will take a few more days.

All in all, Liguori said he's very satisfied with his department's moves.

His favorite part? The third-floor kitchen that his dietetics program will use.

"We have two windows in the kitchen that overlook Lookout Mountain," he said. "It's really just the shining star of the building."

Contact staff writer Jeff LaFave at jlafave@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6592.