UT Tower: The Gem of the University of Tennessee System

Category: Features

UT Tower at sunrise

The UT Tower (formerly known as the TVA East Tower) in downtown Knoxville represents innovation, community partnerships and a state-of-the-art space to continue igniting the greatest decade in the history of the University of Tennessee System. The new space allows for more collaboration by bringing nearly 275 UT System employees together in a singular location. The countdown commenced after the ribbon cutting ceremony in August 2020. UT System President Boyd and employees were eager to get settled into the new space.

“The ability to have our UT System teams together in one location better represents who we are and how we work,” UT System President Randy Boyd said. “Our synergy, efficiency and ability to collaborate at a higher level is inspiring to experience, and I’m looking forward to all we will accomplish together as One UT.”

UT Tower is visible behind the iconic Sunsphere in the downtown Knoxville skyline

The 12-story building has towered over downtown Knoxville since construction was completed in 1976. The new home to the UT System was unanimously approved in 2019 with a vote by the UT Board of Trustees followed by approval from the state building commission in June 2020. The UT System employees started the move-in process in January 2022 and is scheduled to conclude in May. The Knox County Schools occupies the first six floors.

UT President Randy Boyd hands out welcome bags to employees in UT Tower

“Meeting departmental needs, combined with creating a strong sense of community, was at the forefront of our decision-making process when considering the layout of each floor at UT Tower,” said Austin Oakes, assistant vice president of capital projects. “With open plan workstations and multiple conference rooms on every level, we wanted to be intentional about encouraging cross-departmental collaboration and the opportunity to grow alongside each other in our new space.”

With unique changes that came to the interior of the UT Tower, the exterior also represents the UT System to those far and wide. The signs that sit atop UT Tower can be viewed for miles and represents a focal point for the downtown area.

The UT Tower continues to be more than a landmark in Market Square and the city’s residents. It represents the endless stream of hard work, innovation and creativity that flows through each floor as the employees continue to impact the UT System and state to ensure that truly, everywhere you look, UT.

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