Tennessee Temple University preps for dorm renovations

Tennessee Temple University preps for dorm renovations

December 13th, 2011 by Carey O'Neil in News

Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga

Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga

Photo by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

Tennessee Temple University cleared an administrative hurdle Monday, paving the way for expansion of the school's dorms.

Portions of the 32-acre Highland Park campus were rezoned, allowing renovation of now-empty dorms to housing for faculty, older students and families. Instead of the typical bed, desk and shared bathroom, the dorms will function more like apartments, officials said

But renovations are still a ways off, according to Eric Lovett, the school's chief operating officer.

"The goal is to grow," he said. "We've got to get that growth going first."

The university, which has tripled its enrollment on campus and online from 400 to 1,200 in the past three years, had been looking to sell its unused dorms. On-campus admission numbers have hovered around 300 for years, far below dorm capacity and the school's peak enrollment decades ago.

Lovett said the school is no longer trying to sell the dorms and assured the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Planning Agency that the rezoned buildings would be for school use only.

Lovett said the school has upped its online enrollment but would like to see more students on its physical campus, particularly juniors, seniors and graduate students. If the school's recruitment efforts are successful, housing can be readily available.

Contact staff writer Carey O'Neil at coneil@timesfree press.com or 423-757-6525.