Space — that's the first thing students notice when they walk into UTC's new $48 million library. The magnitude of the space. The variety of the spaces. Or at least that's what they tell Theresa Liedtka, the dean of the library.
"They'll sometimes just walk onto the second floor and jaws drop and eyes open," Liedtka said of when students see the sea of computers for the first time.
The new 180,000-square foot, five-story building is 40 percent larger than the Lupton Library it replaced.
"It's one of the most innovative buildings in Chattanooga," said Dominique Pennington, a computer science senior who was studying in the Roth Grand reading room. "You feel like you're walking through an Ikea store in some parts and in other parts you feel like you're at MIT."
Besides books, most now stored on the ground floor, the UTC Library boasts an advanced media studio, over 200 computers and 37 study rooms. Lietka likes to walk the library at least once a day to see which study spots are becoming student favorites.
"It makes it feel like an actual university," said Bryce Crutcher, a senior studying computer science. "We needed it."
Students echo these sentiments on social media, praising the library on Twitter and Instagram. The Times Free Press paid a visit to see firsthand the culmination of nearly five years of construction and three years of planning.
The UTC Library's official grand opening is Thursday, January 29th from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The event will feature a ribbon cutting, tours, scavenger hunts, music, photo booths, food and a passing of the book from the old library to the new facility. The community is invited to attend.