Funds need to be raised to raze Stokely Athletic Center

Funds need to be raised for demolition

photos by Paul Efird/News Sentinel
Stokely Athletic Center sits empty on Monday on the campus at the University of Tennessee. It was originally estimated that it would cost $5.5 million to demolish the facility.

Photo by Paul Efird

photos by Paul Efird/News Sentinel Stokely Athletic Center sits empty on Monday on the campus at the University of Tennessee. It was originally estimated that it would cost $5.5 million to demolish the facility.

The entrance to Stokely Athletic Center. Two outdoor football practice fields have already been approved for the site.$RETURN$$RETURN$

Photo by Paul Efird

The entrance to Stokely Athletic Center. Two outdoor football practice fields have already been approved for the site.$RETURN$$RETURN$

Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart has a vision.

Problem is, a large, dusty, asbestos-ridden building is blocking the view.

Empty and silenced, Stokely Athletic Center is still standing. The former home of Tennessee athletics was approved for demolition last July and vacated on Dec. 31, 2012. At the time, most thought a wrecking ball was hovering above.

The old girl has managed to dodge it thus far.

Tennessee vice chancellor of finance and administration Chris Cimino told the News Sentinel that representatives from UT housing, athletics, parking, facilities, and administration will embark on a series of meetings beginning in July. The goal is threefold: review the results and price of demolition estimates which are due to arrive any week, formulate a feasible plan for the property and find the funding.

Only one future plan is set.

According to Hart and confirmed by Cimino, a slice of the 4.9 acre property has been approved by UT chancellor Jimmy Cheek and the board of trustees for two additional outdoor football practice fields.

“I envision recruits and guests walking into the Peyton Manning Area of the Anderson Training Center and looking out over the beautiful indoor facilities out across to an expanse of fields,” Hart said. “In the (artist’s) renderings you can see three full practice fields.”

The two approved fields will join the existing outdoor practice fields behind Anderson Athletic Center. The new fields will traverse Johnny Majors Drive, which will no longer run between Lake Loudoun Boulevard and Pat Head Summitt Street, to the back end of where Stokely currently stands.

“We need that,” Hart said. “We have a very, very small outdoor football space.”

If that’s the need, now it’s a matter of how. Leveling Stokely was originally estimated at $5.5 million by the

university. Cimino said that figure could move up or down when the final plan is submitted in the upcoming weeks. He also said meetings regarding the site will go into the fall.

Regardless of the price, funds still need to be raised for Stokely to be razed. Cimino said demolition and future construction will be paid solely by auxiliary funds. No state money or tuition will be used.

While football fields have been authorized, questions surround the remainder of the land. A parking garage and/or residence hall fit the university’s greatest needs.

A garage could alleviate major parking concerns in the area, while, as Cimino points out, it’s no secret that UT’s housing is outdated. The 700-bed Fred Brown Hall rising over Andy Holt Avenue is UT’s first new residence hall in 43 years. Gibbs Hall, which shares the block with Stokely, is 51 years old and could find itself demolished alongside neighboring Stokely or renovated.

Hart said he’s pushing for a new residence hall holding 51 percent general student body and 49 percent student-athlete, an NCAA-mandated split.

“(Housing) is the most important component to those student-athletes and their parents or caretakers,” he said.

“We need new residence halls badly,” Cimino said. “If Gibbs Hall answers that and is part of the overall master plan, then I think that’d be great and we’re supportive of looking at that, but we have to look at the feasibility of that from a funding standpoint.”

And therein lies the rub.

“If the costs are where we think they should be and we can work out the appropriate funding model for it, then we would proceed and announce a plan to do so, but otherwise we may have to change course,” Cimino said. “We may have to say, ‘Well, we can do this, but we can afford to do that.’ ”

Because the athletic department was Stokely’s primary tenant and is being allotted future use of some of the land, the department could be asked to pick up some of the demolition tab.

According to Hart, the department still needs to raise funds for its two new fields.

As of now, the future is in a holding pattern, awaiting the demolition report and months of highly important meetings. All involved hope to avoid a big empty eyesore clogging a major university vein.

“We won’t let it stay there forever,” Cimino said. “If we have some of these initial meetings and we think the feasibility in terms of what we replace it with will take longer than anticipated, we might look to see if we can take it down sooner.”

In which case UT would look to tear down Stokely, install the football fields and turn the remainder of the property into a surface parking lot with aesthetic landscaping.

“If we determine it’s not feasible to take a next step for a reasonable amount of time, then we would probably bring it down and fund that,” Cimino said. “Honestly, I think that that will occur in 2014. It’s just a matter of timing.”

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn

Get Copyright Permissions © 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
Want to use this article? Click here for options!

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Comments » 31

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say couple barrells of Popcorns premium brew he hid over in Bybee a few years back ...Witch Doctor say viola plus everyone around breathe the vapors after explosion and be happy happy happy.
Bones never lie.

RoadTrip writes:

Booger and you found the money for Coach Jones & staff, Hart. You can get Booger to give you the money for this. Make the academic side pay it since they get the benefit of a parking garage and/or residence hall. Snowball's chance of that happening.

Stop giving them money until there is total regime change over there. Let them work it out on their own.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to Speyers_Spectacular_Show:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

kwcoach writes:

And the indoor track that Tennessee doesn't have? Where will that go? There once was a place where Football and Track worked together and they both were good. It was called The University of Tennessee. It is amazing how both programs have been allowed to slide. At least someone cared enough to try and fix football.

volaholic45 writes:

Maybe it needs to come down, but I wouldn't give a nickel to destroy the place where I watched Ernie and Bernie and Ray Mears in their glory.

MikeNPS writes:

Once again UT sees the total lack of leadership from UT Chancellor Jimmy Cheek.

fratricide08 writes:

More football fields are just another unneeded luxury item, not even one that matters. Given the other needs we have that were mentioned in the article and above (yes, we DO need an indoor track and we REALLY, REALLY, need a parking lot) it tells the rest of the student body and all the other athletes where Dave Hart stands. If it ain't football, it ain't happening is his attitude.

We have many great sports but those sports and the student body and staff are getting shafted for luxury items. I'm not anti-football in the least (in fact I'm a huge fan) but Hart needs an attitude adjustment when it comes to running the AD.

BTW, how many of these new football facilities will be open to the student body and faculty? Do we get to use at least one of those precious fields for intramural sports, official competitive club sports, or even touch them?

VolzsFan writes:

There are 85 scholarship players. At this rate, each one will have their own practice field. I like it...LOL!!!

alfrizzle097 writes:

Its a joke that they are continuing to dedicate so much prime space in the middle of a space limited campus to the athletic department. Professors still need more office space, parking is a problem, they need more resident halls and new classrooms.

But instead they put more football fields in. Sigh.

ActualUTAlum writes:

Test

ActualUTAlum writes:

This must be a joke.

Look at UT's campus on Google Earth. Look at the physical footprint made by football alone, much less the Athletic Department as a whole. Dave Hart thinks football needs even more room?! Take half of Stokely's land, turn that into football fields even though he admits parking and housing are huge priorities, and then renovate a dorm that will be 50% athletes. Wow. In other words, PRACTICE fields are more important than parking and housing, despite the fact that we have a brand new football building and a massive stadium.

Dave Hart is proposing that a parcel of land larger than the Hill be devoted to football, a university activity in which 120 students participate. Compare this to the Hill, which is the home of math, geology, psychology, biology, geography, BCMB, every engineering department, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc. That's right...the football team uses more land than the academic core of the university. Does the football team really need an even BIGGER chunk of a very space-limited campus?

UT has a pipe dream of becoming a top 25 public university. When you devote fully half of physical space on your campus to athletics, a sizeable portion to football alone, how can they sit there and wonder why we continue to drop below our "peer institutions" in academic rankings?

Another example is tennis. Look at the map, and look at the space taken up by the Goodfriend Tennis Stadium and six outdoor courts. Compare that to the six outdoor courts available to students who aren't on the tennis team. What are there, 30 scholarship tennis players? There's 30,000 other students. But the 30 tennis team members have as much physical space as their 30,000 classmates combined.

30,000 students have a junker of an indoor swimming pool. But the land right beside it is used for a brand new, much nicer pool for 30 scholarship swimmers.

UT isn't even attempting to be a respected academic institution. The university functions as nothing more than a necessary evil in existence only so the athletic department can pretend that their athletes are students as well.

A look at the APR will confirm that many of our "student-athletes" are students in name only, and the people actually going to class, teaching, and doing research are just in the way of another field in which to practice losing to Nick Saban by 31. Again.

Let's just tear down the library. I heard Pat Summitt would like a bigger office.

Henley-Street-Bridge writes:

“We need that,” Hart said. “We have a very, very small outdoor football space.”

The Vols used to live under the East Stands of Neyland Stadium, eat and sleep, & practice. They have two large golf course quality grass practice fields now and want 2 more plus one field indoors for 5 total. Is the team 5x bigger or better than 1939? (NO)

GO VOLS

richvol writes:

My Dad use to take me to games at Stokely when I was a kid. Saw Maravich and Kentucky's fab five there. I just can't bring myself to donate money to tear it down. Coach Mears had great teams there.

SevenT writes:

in response to ActualUTAlum:

This must be a joke.

Look at UT's campus on Google Earth. Look at the physical footprint made by football alone, much less the Athletic Department as a whole. Dave Hart thinks football needs even more room?! Take half of Stokely's land, turn that into football fields even though he admits parking and housing are huge priorities, and then renovate a dorm that will be 50% athletes. Wow. In other words, PRACTICE fields are more important than parking and housing, despite the fact that we have a brand new football building and a massive stadium.

Dave Hart is proposing that a parcel of land larger than the Hill be devoted to football, a university activity in which 120 students participate. Compare this to the Hill, which is the home of math, geology, psychology, biology, geography, BCMB, every engineering department, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc. That's right...the football team uses more land than the academic core of the university. Does the football team really need an even BIGGER chunk of a very space-limited campus?

UT has a pipe dream of becoming a top 25 public university. When you devote fully half of physical space on your campus to athletics, a sizeable portion to football alone, how can they sit there and wonder why we continue to drop below our "peer institutions" in academic rankings?

Another example is tennis. Look at the map, and look at the space taken up by the Goodfriend Tennis Stadium and six outdoor courts. Compare that to the six outdoor courts available to students who aren't on the tennis team. What are there, 30 scholarship tennis players? There's 30,000 other students. But the 30 tennis team members have as much physical space as their 30,000 classmates combined.

30,000 students have a junker of an indoor swimming pool. But the land right beside it is used for a brand new, much nicer pool for 30 scholarship swimmers.

UT isn't even attempting to be a respected academic institution. The university functions as nothing more than a necessary evil in existence only so the athletic department can pretend that their athletes are students as well.

A look at the APR will confirm that many of our "student-athletes" are students in name only, and the people actually going to class, teaching, and doing research are just in the way of another field in which to practice losing to Nick Saban by 31. Again.

Let's just tear down the library. I heard Pat Summitt would like a bigger office.

Thank you for taking the time to explain the footprint of UT Athletics. I can see you have given this matter a lot of consideration.

Could you now explain which academic team or research team has 100K fans pay large sums of money to go see their show? Because those that bring in the $$$ get the facilities.

Just Saying

Ichabod writes:

"Indoor Track" - You mean we have a track team? Really? How did they do in the NCAA meet, I heard that most of the SEC squads did quite well. How about the track Vols? I haven't heard Hart mention anything about that program,or its Coach,but we need TWO MORE football fields ? Don't get me wrong, I love football, but that is the most asinine thing I've heard from over there in a while, and as we all know, that Department has been a staple on Comedy Central since Cheek was given oversight. Pure and simple, that guy needs to go, and we all know it. But, with Joe 'NoSpeakeo' at the helm, you will see nothing, and hear only crickets... Top 25, yeah right...

NYvolFan writes:

I say we scrub the practice fields, build a Football-only Residence Hall and a Football-only classroom facility. Then, we put a prison-style fence around it and only let them out to play games.

Then maybe grades would go up, and arrests would go down! :-)

huntined#565710 writes:

Will they be selling the floor and seats if they are still there..or are they already gone.

BearGapVol73 writes:

in response to volaholic45:

Maybe it needs to come down, but I wouldn't give a nickel to destroy the place where I watched Ernie and Bernie and Ray Mears in their glory.

What he said.

Downtown Danny Schultz. Tom Boerwinkle. Ron. A.J. Red. Billy.

Sweet Jesus, get it together!

govols26 writes:

in response to SevenT:

Thank you for taking the time to explain the footprint of UT Athletics. I can see you have given this matter a lot of consideration.

Could you now explain which academic team or research team has 100K fans pay large sums of money to go see their show? Because those that bring in the $$$ get the facilities.

Just Saying

Ever hear of tuition? Or research grants? Don't act like the 30,000 students are financial leeches on the athletic department. ActualUTAlum was merely reminding you that it is a university...you know a place to gain a higher education... And if you build more office space, more research labs, more housing for students guess what? You have more income from tuition, more potential for grants and maybe, just maybe, a positive shift in academic rankings.

CrankE writes:

...a large, dusty, asbestos-ridden building is blocking the view....The old girl has managed to dodge it thus far.

Are we talking about Stokely or Susan Martin?

Take no chances. Raze them both. After all, it's for the chillllllldren.

antonio14313 writes:

i got 5 on it...

t

ActualUTAlum writes:

in response to SevenT:

Thank you for taking the time to explain the footprint of UT Athletics. I can see you have given this matter a lot of consideration.

Could you now explain which academic team or research team has 100K fans pay large sums of money to go see their show? Because those that bring in the $$$ get the facilities.

Just Saying

I understand that UTAD pays for their own buildings, amenities, etc. The point is that the amount of physical land they are allowed to build on is ridiculous. It would be less of an issue if we had a ton of room like Auburn, for example.

Their argument is "Parking and housing are important, but still more space for football is more important." That's flatly wrong, regardless of who pays for what.

GOJO writes:

Subheading quote: "Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart has a vision."

That is what scares me.

mtnbikrtn writes:

I hate to see U.T. tear down Stokley, but I know they will. I would love to see an orange and white outdoor basketball court at the same exact location as the current court.

rockypop writes:

Now, this is truly novel. Donating money to TEAR DOWN a facility instead of donating money to BUILD one. Even in the bizarro world that UT athletics has become, this is fresh.

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to utvolfan1955:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

nothing I posted was any worse than what the troll Speyers_Spectacular_Show posted

Olddogsrule writes:

Evidently, it's been a long time since many of the posters on here have been anywhere on campus except for ballgames. For those complaining about UT's lack of spending on facilities, you are wrong. There have been and continue to be many major improvements. New buildings for several colleges, such as business, and engineering, music, Ayers Hall with an interior refurb, T-REX student athletic and intramural, a beautiful new and enlarged student union, well ... on and on. New Sorority Park facilities to replace the outmoded Pan-Hellenic (my daughter appreciates that). And yes, by all means use Google Earth or Maps to check out the old Cherokee Farms across the river being converted into new and more than adequate space for educational facility expansion,- Materials Science being only one-(as opposed to ActualUTAlum's incorrect assertions above).

Yes, lots has been done for educational facilities, residence hall, parking, streets, student union, etc., etc., etc. So much going on all at once that they established a web presence called "The Cone Zone" to help folks with the day-to-day logistics of getting around on a campus with constant construction-everywhere.

http://conezone.utk.edu/projects.shtml

So, Actually and factually; planning, funding, and starting (or having already completed) construction on all the other is why UT is finally getting around to bringing down asbestos ridden Stokely and looking for money to fund that and the practice fields and replacing Gibbs.

For those who want to hold on to the old girl, I must ask, when did mommy and daddy finally getcher blanky & binky away?

ActualUTAlum writes:

in response to Olddogsrule:

Evidently, it's been a long time since many of the posters on here have been anywhere on campus except for ballgames. For those complaining about UT's lack of spending on facilities, you are wrong. There have been and continue to be many major improvements. New buildings for several colleges, such as business, and engineering, music, Ayers Hall with an interior refurb, T-REX student athletic and intramural, a beautiful new and enlarged student union, well ... on and on. New Sorority Park facilities to replace the outmoded Pan-Hellenic (my daughter appreciates that). And yes, by all means use Google Earth or Maps to check out the old Cherokee Farms across the river being converted into new and more than adequate space for educational facility expansion,- Materials Science being only one-(as opposed to ActualUTAlum's incorrect assertions above).

Yes, lots has been done for educational facilities, residence hall, parking, streets, student union, etc., etc., etc. So much going on all at once that they established a web presence called "The Cone Zone" to help folks with the day-to-day logistics of getting around on a campus with constant construction-everywhere.

http://conezone.utk.edu/projects.shtml

So, Actually and factually; planning, funding, and starting (or having already completed) construction on all the other is why UT is finally getting around to bringing down asbestos ridden Stokely and looking for money to fund that and the practice fields and replacing Gibbs.

For those who want to hold on to the old girl, I must ask, when did mommy and daddy finally getcher blanky & binky away?

You're missing the point. 4.5 acres for still more athletic facilities that normal students can't use is 4.5 acres that aren't benefitting anyone but football. It's a waste.

EarthBoundMisfit writes:

in response to SevenT:

Thank you for taking the time to explain the footprint of UT Athletics. I can see you have given this matter a lot of consideration.

Could you now explain which academic team or research team has 100K fans pay large sums of money to go see their show? Because those that bring in the $$$ get the facilities.

Just Saying

It may also be why UT's Athletic Dept is $200 million in debt. Just sayin'.

utvolfan writes:

in response to SevenT:

Thank you for taking the time to explain the footprint of UT Athletics. I can see you have given this matter a lot of consideration.

Could you now explain which academic team or research team has 100K fans pay large sums of money to go see their show? Because those that bring in the $$$ get the facilities.

Just Saying

The UT faculty bring in a lot more money than that with grants. Add to that the tuition money that is paid by students plus the fees paid for participants in summer programs (e.g., Destination Imagination, Project Grad, Governor's Schools). The University of Tennessee was established as an institution of higher LEARNING, not as an athletic training camp--or as an entertainment company.

Olddogsrule writes:

in response to ActualUTAlum:

You're missing the point. 4.5 acres for still more athletic facilities that normal students can't use is 4.5 acres that aren't benefitting anyone but football. It's a waste.

Consider that the inclusion of sports teams, all of them - badmitton to wrestling, men's and women's, in the university experience has always been deemed valuable by schools around the world. Consider also that NCAA football is what it is, that the football program truly is "the Front Porch" of UTK on a nationally televised scale; and the team easily foots the bill for so many other sports and even gives millions back to the university when, as a winning team, they fill the stadium most fall afternoons. It seems to me that those 4.5 acres invested in the football team makes sense.

Sports do not prevent the school from advancing academically in any way. There is plenty of land all around the university on which to build more educational facilities, dormitories, and perimeter parking garages. A few of the old dorms need to be refurbished, or demolished and replaced, and there's nothing to prevent a 3 story dorm from being replaced by a 12 story like Carrick.

Nor did I see kids lined up to play tennis, or the T-REX fields filled with intra-mural teams like the African savannah with wild herds each time I drove by on Volunteer Blvd. over the last seven years to pick up my commuting son or daughter when they called, or after they moved out on their own for that matter.

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features