University of Tennessee at Martin seniors watched Brehm Hall expansion develop
Posted: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:24 pm
The Messenger 10.21.09
The future joined the past recently at Brehm Hall on the University of Tennessee at Martin campus.
The Brehm Hall expansion opening ceremony and open house were staged during homecoming and attracted a large number of alumni and current students — some of whom have watched the progress of the project for several years.
“I first heard of the plans for the Brehm Hall expansion as a scholar in the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Agricultural Sciences (at UT Martin) in 2005. As I learned about the additional classrooms, laboratory space and conference areas, I was intrigued at the opportunity that these facilities would provide,” said Ashley McDougal, a senior animal science major from Pulaski. “This helped in my decision to come to UT Martin. Throughout the years, I have seen the development of the project and the eventual completion. As a senior, I will only get a year of use out of the expansion. However, this will prove to be very beneficial for future students.”
The $1.7 million 9,900-square-foot project provided an additional lecture room, laboratories, lab preparatory areas, conference rooms and offices joining an original structure built in 1950.
Nicholas Lewis, a senior agricultural business management major from Ocoee, also has watched the project come to fruition.
“The expansion will benefit the students so much,” he said. “The rooms that are available now are more technology-enabled and are more conducive to the learning experience here at UT Martin.”
And, he added, the prep rooms are perfect for professors to get ready for classes and provide students with more visual examples of the classroom material being studied.
Dr. Jim Byford, College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences dean, welcomed the group attending Saturday’s ceremony and introduced guests that included Donna Brehm Matlock, who retired from UT Knoxville and is the granddaughter of C.E. Brehm, the 15th UT president.
“We are just as pleased as we can be,” Byford said of the expansion.
“I just appreciate ... the fact that he is still being remembered and recognized,” Ms. Matlock said.
Noting that her grandfather was a modest man, she said he would say, “Don’t shine the spotlight on me, it belongs on the outstanding faculty and students.”
UT Martin Chancellor Tom Rakes highlighted the history of the building, noting that 39 years ago, the building was named the C.E. Brehm Agriculture and Biology Hall honoring Dr. Brehm, who served from 1946-59.
“Today is an exciting day for us,” Rakes said.
The chancellor spoke of the years since expansion plans were initiated in 1991 through construction in 2007-09.
“That’s a long wait,” he told those involved in the project. “It just shows if you are tenacious, you plan well and deserve it. Things do come.”
Rakes thanked legislators, UT trustees, Dr. Byford, Department of Agriculture, Geosciences and Natural Resources chair Dr. Jerry Gresham and faculty and staff.
Ogg used enrollment, cost and square footage numbers to tell Brehm’s story, closing with what he termed the most important number.
“This is the number of students whose lives have been changed because of the outstanding faculty and staff over the past 58 years who have brought these square feet to life,” he said.
Gresham thanked the architect and contractor and closed the ceremony talking about the future and what the building means to UT Martin and its students.
“This also creates opportunities for us,” Gresham said, noting that one of the department’s visions is to establish a student/faculty research program.
“Some day, we would like to try to create an endowment,” he added. “That will come with time, but at least we have the space now that we can further our department ...”