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The Crossroads Dining Hall at UTC is slated to undergo an extensive renovation this summer while the entire Guerry Center is seeing a major makeover. (Staff Photo by Mike Pare)

The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is making a major upgrade this summer to its student dining hall in the Guerry Center, which itself is slated to see an extensive renovation.

Along with a streetscaping of Oak Street, nearly $11 million is going into that part of the campus, said Dr. Richard Brown, UTC's executive vice chancellor of finance and administration.

What's next

Work is to start in May on a $4.3 million makeover of the Crossroads Dining Hall in UTC’s Guerry Center.

"It will be a huge transformation," said Brown.

At the Crossroads Dining Hall on the Guerry Center's bottom floor, the university is partnering with food vendor Aramark for a $4.3 million refurbishing, he said.

Jimmy Hawkins, president of Maryville, Tenn.-based firm Leon Williams Contractors, said there will be an interior makeover and new kitchen exhaust system, along with the addition of more windows to improve natural light.

Hawkins said work at the 13,000-square-foot dining hall, slated to start in May, will be complete in time for students to start classes in the fall. All the furniture, food stations and fixtures are to be replaced. New features such as a Mongolian grill concept will be added.

Brown said that while the University Center offers a lot of national food brands for hungry students, the dining hall is "much more of an all-you-can-eat, a la carte" location for students.

He said plans are to put in large-screen TVs and cyber-games to help animate the space.

The Guerry Center, located in the middle of campus and hub for the UTC Honors College, many years ago served as the University Center, Brown said.

A new roof is going on the building at present and more work, worth about $5.4 million, will take place over the next 12 months inside the building, he said.

The dining hall upgrade and Guerry Center refurbishing are separate projects, but the plans hit at a time where they align, Brown said.

"This building will be a real gem for the campus when complete," he said.

Also, $1.2 million in new streetscaping and lighting on Oak Street is planned, Brown said.

Leon Williams Contractors has worked with UTC's dining operations on 13 previous projects, according to the company. Hawkins said the company built out the Crossroads Dining Hall in 2011.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.

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