The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Kirkland Hall construction complete, other on-campus construction continues

The opening of Kirkland Hall marks the completion of four out of nine projects as part of FutureVU.
Josh Rehders
Sun shines atop the newly renovated Kirkland Hall, as photographed on Feb. 3, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Josh Rehders)

Four of the nine construction projects in the Future VU campus-planning initiative have recently been completed. These projects include construction or renovation on Owen Graduate School of Management, Nursing School, Divinity School, 6 Magnolia Circle and Kirkland Hall.  

Kirkland Hall, initially projected to be complete by Oct. 1, 2023, was delayed for completion until the end of 2023 due to construction material delays. The university declined to comment on whether there are any changes to the timelines of the remaining construction sites around Garland Hall, Residential College C and the Athletic facilities. These are scheduled for completion by 2025. 

Vanderbilt also began the Central Utilities Initiative in January 2023 with the aim of upgrading utilities infrastructure across campus. These upgrades are scheduled to be completed by January 2025.

Historic core

The “historic core” spans the oldest part of Vanderbilt’s main campus. Ongoing construction projects in the area include the renovations of Kirkland Hall and Garland Hall.

Renovation plans for Kirkland Hall include redesigned gender-neutral bathrooms, improved interior spaces and a more accessible front entrance. According to FutureVU, the planned renovations help improve accessibility, connectivity and sustainability.

Furniture is currently being moved into Kirkland Hall, which will resume business operations in mid-February. Kirkland will be open to Vanderbilt community members “with business in the building,” according to a university representative. 

The new deadline for completion is subject to change based on possible additional materials delays. If more occur, the university will find a new source or install temporary replacements whenever possible, according to the same university representative.

First-year Sully Watts called the ongoing construction “inconvenient.” 

“I have a class right through the [Kirkland Hall] construction area, but it takes me three or five minutes extra to walk around from where I’m going to hang out,” Watts said. 

The renovations at Garland Hall include the construction of the university’s first outdoor classroom, the addition of gender-neutral bathrooms and an interior overhaul. When it reopens in 2025, Garland Hall will house several departments under the College of Arts and Science, as well as interdisciplinary centers.

Frist Athletics Village

The athletics neighborhood will encompass the university’s athletics facilities, including FirstBank Stadium, Memorial Gym and the Vanderbilt Recreation and Wellness Center.

One construction project in the area aims to transform Jess Neely Drive into a pedestrian pathway, strengthening the connection between the athletics neighborhood and main campus. The north and south end zones of FirstBank Stadium are also undergoing renovation in connection with Vandy United, Vanderbilt’s recent investment in its athletics programs.

“The west end of Jess Neely is scheduled to open with the completion of the south end zone project by fall 2025,” a university representative told The Hustler.

The construction process has included scheduled blasting on and around Jess Neely Drive, occurring weekdays at 9 a.m, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m CST since Aug. 28, 2023. The same representative stated that the scheduled blastings would have no impact on students in an Oct. 13, 2023 email to The Hustler.

Some students expressed frustration with how the construction has impacted their commutes. Sunny He, a sophomore and Blakemore resident, said that she was late to her 9 a.m. class  at least three times due to the blasting. She said she was stopped by a construction worker, who instructed her not to cross the street until the blasting finished.

He also lamented the noise and pollution caused by the blasting. 

“Every time I walk past the construction site, I see huge amounts of dust lingering,” He said. “I’d hold my breath when passing by so that I wouldn’t inhale the dust.”

Construction also impacted those who drive to the Rec Center for sports practice.

“The construction makes you take a detour if you drive to the Rec center along 21st [Ave] because you have to go around to the back if you want to park on Children’s Way,” senior Miles Sitcawich, president of Men’s Club Soccer, said.

The renovation of the north end zone of FirstBank Stadium will result in a multi-floor facility with two practice gyms, new athletic training facilities and convenient access to Memorial Gym. It is scheduled to be completed in August 2024. 

The renovation of the south end zone will bring more diverse seat offerings for football game days, more student dining facilities and an enhanced acoustics system. The renovation is scheduled for completion in July 2025. 

Other ongoing projects

Construction is also underway on Residential College C, the third residential college in the West End Neighborhood alongside Zeppos College and Rothschild College. The new college is scheduled to open for the 2024-25 academic year.

The CUI, which began in January 2023, aims to improve the sustainability of Vanderbilt’s energy infrastructure, including the construction of a new power plant near the Recreation and Wellness Center accompanied by new distribution lines. Meanwhile, the project also will include the burying of overhead utilities, road improvements and an enhanced pedestrian-centric environment.

Sitcawich said that CUI-related construction had reduced the practice space available for club sports and intramural leagues. 

These construction projects were centered around Natchez Trace, 25th Avenue and Jess Neely Drive, with the construction of Natchez Trace scheduled for completion by August 2024, 25th Ave. by March 2024 and Jess Neely Drive by January 2025.

The CUI also supports various Vandy United projects, which assist student-athletes and athletic programs through major facilities renovations and operational enhancements. The university declined to provide further comment on the current progress of CUI constructions. 

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About the Contributors
Young Yao
Young Yao, Staff Writer and Social Media Staffer
Young Yao (‘27) is from Shanghai, China, and studies political science and neuroscience in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find him playing frisbee, watching “Comedy Central” or productively procrastinating at Peabody Library. He can be reached at [email protected].
Jessica Li
Jessica Li, Social Media Staffer
Jessica Li (‘27) is from Shanghai, China, and is majoring in communication studies in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her reading, listening to K-Pop and buying Jeni’s ice cream. You can reach her at [email protected].
Josh Rehders
Josh Rehders, Former Photography Director
Josh Rehders ('24) is from Houston and is studying computer science in the School of Engineering. When he is not shooting for The Hustler, Vanderbilt Athletics or freelancing, he enjoys finding new music and good food. He can be reached at [email protected].
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