According to the press release just sent out, the two apartment complexes, each of which has 420 apartments, will be closed because of funding concerns. The Sutherland buildings are over 40 years old and the Golf Range buildings are over 50--all are in serious need of repair or replacement. University officials say that building new would cost $80 million dollars, and full renovations even more.
The two complexes are currently the only university-owned apartment (as opposed to "apartment-style residence halls") the university has.
demand for university-provided graduate and family housing has declined
over the years. As we looked at our options for renovating this
property, the current advantage of rental rates would be lost, putting
us in direct competition with the private market," said Ken Stoner, executive director of university housing for UT Knoxville, in the press release.
However, according to the 2007-2008 UTK Fact Book, Golf Range and Sutherland had an 89 percent and 88 percent occupancy rate, respectively, as of the fall of 2007.
The decision comes amid major projected budget shortfalls for the university--at one time estimated to reach as much as $100 million, though expected to be alleviated somewhat by the nearly $4 billion the state is expected to receive as part of the recently passed federal stimulus package.
The statement says that the university will be studying the feasibility of razing the buildings--which now cover 40 acres--and replacing them with "student recreational fields."
Residents were informed of the decision last night, said UT spokesperson Karen Collins.