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Sunday Snapshot: New digs for the Knights

7 Jul
Farr-Chinnock Hall -- the new home to the J. Frank White Academy.

Farr-Chinnock Hall — the new home to the J. Frank White Academy.

Work continues on renovations to Farr-Chinnock Hall, the former home to math and science at LMU. Once completed, the facility will house the J. Frank White Academy. The work should be complete in August, just in time for a new school year. Picture is the new addition of a back entrance to accommodate drop-off and pick-up. Changes to the current road are also underway to assist with traffic flow.


Where in the world is the world?

8 Jul

Checking out the nearly completed Math and Science building earlier this week, I couldn’t help but notice that there was something missing. Actually, there are a lot of things missing at this point, but amid the dust and debris of building crews putting the finishing touches on the main lobby, my eye was drawn to what’s not there. At the center of the lobby area, across from where crews have taken great care to install stately marble, stands an area that is clearly waiting for something. The marble, which was reclaimed from the walls of the former Baptist Hospital in downtown Knoxville, adds opulence to the building even in its unfinished state yet there is still a gaping hole.


The Math and Science Building lobby.

The tiled floor lays the ground work for what is to come. If you were to walk in the main entrance of the Math and Science Center today, you would see a large square with three poles waiting for something. What in the world are we waiting for? Well actually, it’s the world.

Months ago, LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk commissioned Top Stone to create a four-foot rolling sphere fountain and it’s to be installed in the lobby as soon as it arrives. The globe etched sphere can be turned, spun and stopped by hand. However, if left alone the North Pole goes back to the north position. The 5,500 pound sphere floats on a thin layer of water. Top Stones uses unique technology in their fountain. It’s surely a lesson in physics, which is only fitting for the Math and Science Center.

A globe etched stone fountain similar to this on is on its way to LMU.

Top Stone announced the shipment of the LMU fountain in a press release on May 29, 2012. The completed work has been en route every since. The extreme spring and early summer weather and storms have slowed its journey. Approximately two weeks ago, University officials were notified that it had arrived in the New York Harbor and was sitting on a shipping vessel.

We can only assume that it is now on its way to Harrogate, Tenn., by truck. With just over three weeks until LMU-DCOM Class of 2016 orientation is slated to take place in the large auditorium on the first floor of the Math and Science Building, let’s hope the world is here to greet them.





Moving Day!

7 Jul

Well not exactly moving day, more like moving days, weeks and months. That is because it is going to take days, weeks and months to totally move in all the people, departments and programs that will live in the new Math and Science center. The good news is that some moving has commenced.

The exterior of the building has looked complete for weeks now and indeed all but the landscaping and external signage is complete. The 140,000-square foot building, which is roughly 25% larger than the LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, is slated to be complete later this month. It is still a work in progress with interior work continuing daily.


Nearly all of the anatomy tables in the four-pod anatomy lab are in place.

But, moving trucks have also been visiting the new facility daily. The large, four-pod anatomy lab is nearest to being moved-in. The anatomy tables have been moved and the faculty and staff offices are furnished and ready to go. The largest lab in the building, the anatomy lab has been a priority as a July 24 deadline looms.

July 24 is the first day of orientation for the LMU-DeBusk College Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2016. That day, LMU will welcome over 225 new osteopathic medical students and the Math and Science Center is integral in the LMU-DCOM class size increase as current facilities in the LMU-DCOM building are not large enough to accommodate the numbers. The good news is that judging by these photos, everything seems right on track to meet the deadline!




Blown Away!

6 Jul

At roughly 4:30 p.m. yesterday, as LMU staff were hitting the door and heading home for the evening, the air was remarkably calm, almost still, even. It truly was the calm before the storm. People who remained on campus at 5 p.m. witnessed the wind cutting through campus downing trees, uprooting landscaping and damaging buildings. The wind was accompanied by some rain, thunder and plenty of lightning.

The severe thunderstorms swept out of the area almost as quickly as they came in, leaving as of yet untold damage. Reports last night included a house that was possibly blown off its foundation in Harrogate. In Knoxville, tens of thousands were left in the dark with widespread power outages. The worst reports trickled in from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where two people lost their lives.

A tree on LMU’s Quad was split in three during the storm.

Early this morning, LMU Maintenance and Grounds crews were working diligently to clear the fallen trees and varied debris around campus. They were inspecting buildings and surveying damage. The line of thunder storms caused damage to several University buildings including the Schenck Center, Farr-Chinnock, Grant-Lee and Avery. A window was blown out in Schenck. Farr-Chinnock sustained the greatest damage as pieces of its roof were torn apart from the building. The outdoor batting cages near the Lamar Hennon Baseball Field were also mangled in the storm.

The strong thunder storms on July 15, damaged the roof of Farr-Chinnock Hall.

Remarkably, the University technology infrastructure remained intact throughout the event with only brief outages of power or internet services. “We were fortunate that the most extensive damage was sustained to our landscaping,” LMU President Dr. Dawson told me. “And certainly, the best news is that there were no injuries.”

LMU Dean of Administration Lisa Blair Cox along with Director of Campus Safety and Facilities Richard Owens were working with insurance adjustors to get the University back to business as usual, but with such widespread damage I think we can all expect this to take a little time.

A film crew from Sigmon Communications Center was on the scene when the storm struck and captured this raw footage of the damage.

For more photos, check out the University’s Flickr photo stream: 

LMU Tri-State News filed this report on the storm:




Math and Science Center Update

13 Jan


An artist's rendering of the exterior of the LMU Math and Science Center

An email I received earlier this week reminded me that I had not recently provided an update on the major campus building project going on at LMU. While classes were out and offices operated on abbreviated schedules with skeleton crews over the holiday break, the work never slowed down at the Math and Science Center construction site.

In fact, crews pushed ahead in the favorable weather. The roof is on. The parking lots have been paved and are even lined. The exterior brick is complete and all the openings for windows have been covered with plastic as the crews move their attention to the interior.

The parking lots have been paved.


It is no small feat to accomplish this much on the large building. The Math and Science Center will be the largest building on campus when it is complete. At 145,000 square feet it will be approximately 25% larger than DCOM. It will house state-of-the-art classroom, research and office space and be home to the Caylor School of Nursing, DCOM classes, all of the undergraduate science programs and even some classes for the proposed College of Veterinary and Comparative Medicine.

It will house a 400-seat auditoria, microscopy suite and over 4,600 square feet of research labs to enable faculty and students to engage in more research activity. For the undergraduate programs, it will be complete with state-of-the art biology, chemistry and physics labs and classrooms. The building will have complete wireless internet integration and full high definition and digital classrooms. Also planned for the building is a much larger anatomy suite which will accommodate professional and undergraduate students in four pods. It will be poised to provide advanced learning for advanced students.

I hope to get some inside access in the coming weeks, so be on the lookout for an update on the interior progress.  Stay tuned!


Additional views of the construction.


A view from DCOM to the Math and Science Center. From this view you can see the progress being made on the new residence halls.



Woefully behind, trying to catch-up

9 Sep

This has been a busy week at LMU. So busy, I have fallen way behind on this blog. I have attempted to catch back up all week, but at the end of the day, it’s the end of the day and I’m out of time. So here we are at 10:26 p.m. on Friday night. So let’s hit the highlights of the week and call ourselves caught-up. I’ll try to start new with the daily posting next week.

Monday brought a rainy Labor Day to LMU. Classes were cancelled and offices were closed and it turned out, the City of Harrogate Labor Day festivities were called on account of rain. The annual celebration which takes place at the Harrogate City Park includes live music, family activities and fireworks. The celebration has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 17 beginning at 3 p.m.

Tuesday, another rainy day, took me to the LMU-Duncan School of Law where everyone is busy preparing for accreditation events. For my part, I arranged a last minute photo shoot to highlight some of the smaller, but no less equipped, study rooms.


East Tennessee Foundation grant presentation.

Wednesday, the rain was finally clearing, brought a new session of Staff Senate with a gaggle of new staff representatives including yours truly. The meeting served as an introduction to the organization for us “newbies” as Staff Senate Chair Julie Longmire reviewed the accomplishments of the past year and went over the projects that were being carried over to this year. New officers were also elected. I literally walked out of that meeting and into the next event. The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum had been selected by the East Tennessee Foundation to receive a $2,500 grant and ETF Senior Vice President for Programs and Regional Development Terry Holley travelled to Harrogate to make the presentation (I will share more on this in a future entry). No sooner had I snapped the last picture at the presentation than my phone began to ring. It was Lieutenant Adam Howland with LMU ROTC and they were presenting a huge scholarship to one of our students. It was really a milestone for LMU’s ROTC program which is in the midst’s of a reboot after dropping off the campus landscape for a while (again more on the presentation in another post). I capped the day with a visit to the Math Science Building site to take some photos of the project’s progress. The trip wasn’t exactly planned, so I was dressed appropriately for a construction site. With all the rain, I was lucky to escape without ruining my dress shoes.


Marshall Chapman performs.

I started my day on Thursday in Harrogate for a homecoming meeting. I hit the road before noon heading back to DSOL to finish the ABA photo project. Later that evening Writer-in-Residence Darnell Arnoult welcomed Marshall Chapman for the opening of the Appalachian Reading Series. Chapman, a Nashville-fixture, is an accomplished songwriter and essayist. She even stared alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw in the movie Country Strong, she played Paltrow’s road manager. The program was co-sponsored by the Music Department. Chapman performed her music and read from her new book, They Came to Nashville. Afterwards, she met with the crowd and signed books.


Marshall Chapman signs Charlie Allen's kindle during the Appalachian Reading Series event on Thursday.


And I’m not really sure how Friday got away from me so quickly, but here I am, signing off at 11:11 p.m. (make a wish) whew…. What a week.



Labor Day progress on the Math Science Building

5 Sep

LMU's Math Science building remains on target to be complete by the start of next fall.