Final OK given for new $63M UT audiology and speech pathology building

After years of delay, a new University of Tennessee audiology and speech pathology building should begin rising out of the ground at the UT Medical Center complex off Alcoa Highway in Knoxville by next summer, reports the News Sentinel.

The State Building Commission on Thursday approved the design of the new $65 million, five-story building as presented by Lewis Group Architects of Knoxville. It will adjoin the UT College of Pharmacy building via a four-story atrium running the length of one wing of the new L-shaped structure.

UT’s Graduate Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology will be the new building’s primary tenant but it will also house elements of UT’s colleges of medicine and dentistry — all three of which are under the administrative umbrella of UT Health Science Center in Memphis.

The university had targeted the department for closure seven years ago but instead transferred it to the Health Science Center. Construction of the new building was originally to have begun in 2013 but was delayed. In the two years since, the project grew from a three-story, 60,000-square-foot building to the five-story, 135,000-square-foot structure approved Thursday.

Architect Jeff Castor of Knoxville’s Lewis Group Architects said officials anticipate construction starting next summer and completed in fall 2018.

The building will have clinic space for treating patients, an elevated outdoor playground for pediatric patients, laboratories, classrooms, faculty and administrative officers, research space and a 100-seat auditorium.