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Live Green at Heart: UT'S Ayres Hall

12:49 PM, Nov 9, 2010   |    comments
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Atop "The Hill" on the University of Tennessee campus sits history in the remaking.

A $23 million renovation is taking Ayres Hall, built in 1921, into the 21st Century.

Jeff Maples, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, said the decision to make the iconic building energy efficient  follows the Chancellor's decision that all new construction projects have some sort of LEED certification.

"So the challenge came about of balancing the historical significance of the building and getting enough components to recognize it as LEED certified," said Maples.

Such LEED components as energy efficient windows and lights have been added.  The bathrooms have low flow toilets and faucets.  

But UT Administrator Betsey Creekmore says they did hold on to many of the buildings original features like the slate chalk boards and original hardwood floors.

"People need to remember where we came from as well as where we are going, " said Creekmore.

Decades after the first cornerstone was placed, Ayres Hall now has a front patio, marble walls and clocks on its bell tower as was intended in 1921. At that time,  there wasn't enough money for those projects. 

Creekmore calls the green restoration a labor of love on a building that stands for the Big Orange spirit.

"It's an extraordinary example of how a good building that was well designed and built can be renovated historically but also in an energy efficient manner and serve the needs of the future."

Classes in Ayres Hall will start in January.

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