New auditorium to advance UT Arboretum as educational resource
UT Arboretum Auditorium concept drawing
During a breakfast Aug. 6 at the UT Arboretum sponsored by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, UT AgResearch announced a new auditorium is to be constructed on the grounds through a public-private partnership. A design concept of the building is shown above, courtesy of UT AgResearch.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – UT AgResearch, a unit of the UT Institute of Agriculture, has launched an innovative public-private partnership that will advance the UT Arboretum as an educational resource for the greater Oak Ridge community and East Tennessee.
During a breakfast at the Arboretum, sponsored by the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce, UT AgResearch Dean Bill Brown announced a new auditorium is to be constructed on the grounds.
“This is an incredible opportunity to use this facility to showcase a variety of educational opportunities that will enhance the Arboretum in its mission of teaching, research and outreach,” said Brown. “In addition, we want to thank B&W Y-12 Technical Services, L.L.C., EnergySolutions, L.L.C., Enrichment Federal Credit Union, Oak Ridge Associated Universities, ORNL Federal Credit Union, UT-Battelle, L.L.C., Y-12 Federal Credit Union and the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce. Without their support, this unique educational facility would not become a reality.”
“This auditorium fits very well into a community need for quality meeting space, and we are grateful that this team has come together to build the public/private partnership needed to make it a reality,” said Parker Hardy, president of the Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce.  “The very special arboretum setting will make it a unique amenity for the university and for Oak Ridge.  We are very proud that they chose an Oak Ridge Chamber ‘Rise & Shine' event to share the news about a project that has been building momentum for some time.”  
The auditorium will become reality through a unique public-private partnership between UT AgResearch, the UT Institute for Public Service and the Rogers Group. One area where the auditorium may be utilized is by providing the infrastructure for educational programs from the UT Institute for Public Service.
Funding came through a land trade with Rogers Group for a small amount of acreage adjacent to the arboretum and for a piece of property in Sweetwater, Tenn. However, the funding from this trade will only partially fund the facility and additional funding is being sought to complete the project.
In addition, an Arboretum Coordinator will be brought on board to oversee and provide additional educational programming opportunities for the community, and to help market the new auditorium for other outreach, training, and social events. The coordinator will work under the direction of Kevin Hoyt, director of the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center.
“We are very excited about the new auditorium project that we hope to break ground on in the near future. This new building will further support our mission of providing the land and supporting resources necessary for conducting natural resources research, enhancing our community outreach efforts, and providing a modern venue for increasing our educational programming efforts. It will in fact build on the legacy of this magnificent resource, and provide a catalyst of positive change for the UT Forest Resources AgResearch and Education Center,” said Hoyt.
“The arboretum is a fantastic resource for the Oak Ridge community and beyond,” said Brown. “We welcome visitors every day and with the new auditorium and the educational programs it will provide, it will be a value-add to an already incredible facility,” said Brown.
The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers, and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.
Dr. Bill Brown, Dean, UT AgResearch,, 865-974-7121
Dr. Kevin Hoyt, Director, UT Forest Resources AgResearch & Education Center,, 865-483 3571