Tennessee Tech News

RUC $7 million expansion project underway

story thumb
Construction plan shows the overhead placement of the RUC expansion.

Published Thursday Sep 14, 2017

The Roaden University Center will undergo an expansion project beginning next Monday, Sept. 18. The project will expand the west side of the RUC, creating more than 11,500 square feet of new student lounge and dining areas on the ground and first floors.

“When the RUC was built, Tech’s enrollment was a fraction of what it is now” said Phil Oldham, Tennessee Tech’s president. “As the university has grown, and continues to grow, we needed to provide students with more space where they can meet, work and relax between classes.”

The RUC opened in 1971, when Tech’s enrollment was little more than 6,000. Now, the university enrolls about 10,500 students.

The expansion will feature both interior student lounges and covered porches. There will be stairs connecting the lounges, and a walking bridge between Centennial Plaza and the first-floor expansion will be built.

Once completed, the expansion will occupy the small parking area that has been fenced off for the last few years, currently bordered by a retaining wall.

West side RUC entrance closes Monday, Sept. 18; plan accordingly

During the construction, the RUC’s west side entrance will be closed.

  • Access to and from the building will be through the North and South patios, and the Dixie Avenue doors. The accessible entrance to the building is from the North Patio. The only direct access to the ground floor will be from the stairwell immediately next to the South Patio. 
  • The ground floor corridor where Starbucks and Swoops Food Court are located will become a dead end where the building’s outside doors are currently located. 
  • Both Starbucks and Swoops will maintain their normal hours of operation. 
  • When the food locations are closed, the corridor will be blocked at the entrance to the bookstore. Access to the rest of the ground floor will be unimpeded.

The Multipurpose Room on the second floor of the RUC will also be renovated.

Funding for the expansion and renovation comes from the facilities development fee paid by students and state capital maintenance funds.

The expansion project is expected to take 12 months. Some weather-delay days are already in place, but extended periods of inclement weather could affect the schedule. Renovation of the Multipurpose Room is expected to take six months.

The project’s designer is Sparkman and Associates of Knoxville. J. Cumby Construction of Cookeville is the general contractor.

The university closed the parking lot on the west side of the building on Sept. 8 to use as the staging area for the construction. The lot will become green space after completion of the project, per the university’s master plan.

Details about the project

Building Expansion (360-day construction schedule)

Ground Floor

  • Four entrances into the building from the west side, instead of the current single entrance; main entrance ADA-accessible
  • Men’s and Women’s Restroom in lounge area
  • Stairs connecting the ground and first floor lounges
  • Covered porch outside seating area
  • Walking bridge between Centennial Plaza and lounge area, with ADA-accessible entrance to lounge area

First Floor

  • Walking bridge between Centennial Plaza and lounge area, with ADA-accessible entrance to lounge area
  • Stairs connecting the ground and first floor lounges
  • Place to pay or use meal swipes to go to the cafeteria (there is no direct access to the rest of the first floor from the lounge area without paying or using a meal swipe to enter the cafeteria)
  • Vaulted ceiling
  • Covered porch outside seating area

Exterior brick and stone replacement

  • Exterior brick removed and replaced from the building’s west side, from North to South patios
  • Addresses safety concerns that have caused west side of the building to be fenced off

Multipurpose Room Renovation (180-day construction schedule)

  • Removal of stage
  • Installation of partition panel system to allow the 9,000- square-foot room to be used as two smaller rooms when needed
  • Coffered ceilings in each partition area
  • Installation of two large screens in area currently occupied by the flanks of stage
  • Creation of an audio/visual control room

Share This Story