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The Christman Company project earns Keep Knoxville Beautiful award

March 6, 2020

A project by The Christman Company, The University of Tennessee Student Union, has earned a 2020 Keep Knoxville Beautiful Orchids Award in the new architecture category. Award winners were announced at a ceremony Feb. 25.

Officially opened in 2019, the $187 million, 395,088-square-foot UT Student Union is the university’s largest construction project to date. The Orchids Award for new architecture recognizes projects that demonstrate excellence in overall design, aesthetics, form, and proportion; appropriate use of materials; and the magnitude of visual impact on the area.

“This is our company’s 49th project for the University of Tennessee, one with multiple phases built on a busy, fully operational campus,” said Marty Gibbs, vice president and general manager for The Christman Company’s Knoxville operations. “We are proud that this space will have a positive impact on campus life for generations to come.”

The Christman Company oversaw all construction on the project, starting with preconstruction in 2011, phase one in 2012 and then completion of the final phase in December of 2018. McCarty Holsaple McCarty & Barber McMurry Architects Joint Venture was the architect for the project, which included 70 subcontractors and vendors.

The new facility is more than double the size of the old University Center with eight new food venues, production kitchen, billiards area, classrooms, conference rooms, ballroom, auditorium, conference rooms and office suites for 14 university departments. Its exterior features include two city blocks of pedestrian-friendly hardscaping and landscaping and a pedestrian bridge.

The University of Tennessee Student Union, built by The Christman Company, earned a Keep Knoxville Beautiful Orchids Award in the new architecture category at a ceremony Feb. 25. The 395,088-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility officially opened in 2019.

Other Christman projects at UT include the in-process multiphase Neyland Stadium upgrades and the $67 million Energy and Environmental Science Research Building, which will include teaching and research labs, offices, classrooms and a 500-seat teaching and learning center. Recently completed projects on the campus include the Ken and Blaire Mossman Building, a $96 million, 220,000-square-foot science facility; the Strong Hall science laboratory, a $114 million, 265,000-square-foot research and teaching lab; and the UT West Campus Housing Development, a $63 million, village-style complex.

About The Christman Company

The Christman Company, founded in 1894, is one of the country’s leading professional construction services firms. The company’s award-winning services include construction management, general contracting, design/build, program management, real estate development, self-perform and millwork services. Christman specializes in a variety of construction markets, including government, higher and K12 education, industrial and power, healthcare, and corporate office. Ranked at 93 in the Engineering News-Record ENR 400 top contractors nationally and 63 in the ENR 100 Construction Management-at-Risk firms , Christman has more than $4 billion in construction underway managed by 485 professional employees across five states throughout the Southeast U.S., the Midwest, the Southwest U.S., and the mid-Atlantic. For more information, visit, and connect on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.