UTC McKenzie Arena Building $22 Million Dollar Addition in 2020


CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (WDEF) — Many here in southeast Tennessee remember Bucky Wolford.

He was a football standout at UTC back in the 90’s.

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An expansion of sports facilities there will soon carry his name.

In the last 10 to 15 years, UTC’s facilities have expanded by over $300 million dollars.
Executive Vice Chancellor Richard Brown explains this latest addition.

“This will be a $22 million dollar project, we will build new about 25 thousand square feet, an addition at gate one, which will be a beautiful facility, multi-purpose, multi-use,” said Dr. Richard Brown, Executive Vice Chancellor of Finance & Administration at UTC.

The majority of that $22 million dollars will be donated to the University. Vice Chancellor Brown explains why this expansion is needed for the University to stay competitive.

“As we compete in Division I football, just about every southern conference campus has a facility like this, we are so appreciative of the generosity of Bucky Wolford and his family, and the philanthropic support of our donors, who gave to this project, I think this will make us very competitive in the Southern Conference,” said Vice Chancellor Brown.

For the 1st time in over 30 years the McKenzie Arena will be renovated inside, and this 4 story expansion, The Wolford Family Athletic Center, will begin construction in the fall of 2020, next to Gate 1.

“McKenzie Arena’s over 35 years old. So we desperately need to go in and renovate the spaces, bring them up to today’s standards,” said Brown.

And speaking of today’s standards, that includes compliance with Title IX.

“Athletic programs continue to grow, and for the purposes of Title IX, we must provide equal access to sports facilities for men and women’s sports,  said Brown.”

But the Wolford Athletic Center isn’t the only project under way on campus right now. The Gary Rollins Business School, which recently received a 40 million donation,  is under construction, as well as a multi-million dollar renovation on the old library.

“We’re renovating the old library to the tune of about $38 million dollars – turning it into a state of the art classroom facility, and the beat goes on – we continue to plan and grow this University,” said Brown.

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Ashley is a lifetime Chattanooga area resident, and a 1987 graduate from UTC, with a BA in communications. While there, he was commissioned through the ROTC program, served simultaneously in the 1/181st field artillery Tn. Army National Guard, finished Airborne school, was a member of the Scabbard and Blade military honor society and ROTC Rangers, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, played snare drum with the UTC Marching band, and played in a southern rock band called Southern Atmosphere, while working a full time job as a trainer at the Sports Barn. He also won the Southeastern United States teenage bodybuilding competition during this time. Ashley has been with News 12 Now for 21 years. Prior to working here he was a videographer, director, producer and editor at Falcon Cable TV in Dalton, Ga. for 6 years where he produced thousands of commercials and dozens of hour long features. He also worked as a freelancer and employee at another network affiliate in Chattanooga. He has operated a part time video production business from home for 25 years. He says his passion is telling stories that feature people who give of themselves to help others, and stories that inspire people to make positive changes in themselves and their communities. Ashley is ecstatically married to Debbie Henderson, and has two step sons, a daughter in law, a sister, and lots of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. His parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. Ashley and Debbie are active members of Brainerd Baptist Church. His interests include weight training and cycling with his wife, photography, poetry, playing drums, and checking off items from his extensive honey-do list. If you would like to reach Ashley, email him at ahenderson@wdef.com.