At first glance, the large parking lot near a warehouse district in West Knoxville seems unremarkable. But this space will soon be home to the treasures of the UT Libraries.
The university is moving forward with the construction of the Library Storage Annex, a modern climate-controlled facility that will house special collections materials; the University of Tennessee Archives; the Modern Political Archives; important but little-used items from the general collections; and other library materials that require long-term preservation.
Libraries officials recently met with Sparkman and Associates Architects for a project kickoff meeting. They anticipate the initial design drawings and project budget will be completed later this summer.
The estimated 16,000-square-foot storage facility on Middlebrook Pike, about five miles from the main campus, would provide consistent temperature and humidity controls, which would preserve and protect the Libraries collections.
Currently, the Libraries stores its collections in the old Hoskins Library on the UT campus. The building has been subject to water leaks and mold, which in turn have damaged some of the holdings.
This project also frees up valuable library space for much-needed student learning, research, and collaboration.
“The Library Storage Annex will provide high-quality storage for our special, rare, and one-of-a-kind materials—items that are critical for understanding our history as well as touchstones for current and future research and learning,” said Dean of Libraries Steve Smith. “By providing a storage environment with better climate control and security, we will ensure that precious library materials are available for generations of students, scholars, and citizens.”
The Library Storage Annex was first identified in UT’s 2016 Master Plan. It was approved as a project by the State Building Commission in April 2022 but delayed due to location changes.
The project is estimated to be completed by August 2025.
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