Cost of new UT building increasing (construction time, too)

The State Building Commission last week has approved another $4.14 million increase in spending on the University of Tennessee’s new Student Union complex in Knoxville, according to the News Sentinel. The new total cost figure: $181.74 million.

When the commission first approved the project in 2008, its cost was estimated at $116.6 million. But that was before the Recession settled in, cutting state revenue and delaying the project for more than three years. It was also before design plans were approved and construction bids were opened.

By the time its design was approved in 2011 and its size increased by 30 percent, to 390,000 square feet, the cost was pegged at $160 million. In 2012 it jumped to $167.6 million. In July 2015, the commission approved a $10 million increase, to $177.6 million, to cover the costs of “unforeseen abatement, poor soil conditions, utility relocation, user-requested design changes and for awarding bids that are higher than were estimated,” according to minutes of the meeting.

When demolition of the old University Center parking garage started in March 2012, finally marking the start of work, UT said it would take about four years — to 2016 — to complete the entire project, to be built in two phases.

The target for overall completion is now during the spring of 2018.