KNOXVILLE — A transitional building for the JU worship and music education department is in the final stages of development and will be constructed this year.
University officials determined that the Alumni Memorial Chapel, the building that currently houses all music related programs, needs to be vacated due to mold in parts of the building, specifically in the basement and subbasement areas.
According to Kevin O’Brien, director of operations for Plant Services, there is no cost effective way to address the issues.
A new permanent facility is part of a campus-wide masterplan, but the temporary facility will hopefully be constructed by October.
Worship and Music Education students welcome the change.
“The ceiling is falling inward in certain areas, there’s dead bugs everywhere, and there’s a classroom full of dirt,” Emily Jackson, a Music Education major, said. “I don’t see how we are allowed to go to class in a building that’s in this shape.”
O’Brien said the current building is structurally sound, but that there are many other issues.
“Water proofing techniques are vastly different now than they were in 1961, when that building was constructed,” he said.“There is a basement, subbasement and the main floor, and each of those has a wall that are in the dirt against the soil — that is where the mold is growing,”
O’Brien said numerous tests and evaluations by architectures revealed that there was no cost effective away to remodel the AMC.
“The new transitional building will be unique in comparison to current buildings on Johnson’s campus. Unlike all current buildings that are built with brick, concrete, and block, this transitional building will be built with steel frames.”
It is being done this way for faster construction and less expense.
There is no timetable for the construction of the permanent music department building.