University officials unveiled plans for the Sykes Chapel and Center for Faith and Values on Thursday. Featuring a 3,184 pipe, 45-foot organ, the non-denominational chapel will be built where the commuter parking lot and former fairgrounds buildings are. The project will also have a plaza and musical sculpture and fountain.
The $19.5 million project is a gift from John H. and Susan Sykes.
“This is a stunning project that has been in our hearts and minds for more than a decade,” said John H. Sykes.
Construction is slated to begin soon, with completion set for the fall of 2009.
“We are grateful to the Sykes for their gift that we believe will aid in students’ own discovery and development processes and support the study of world religions,” UT President Ronald Vaughn said.
The 12,750 square feet facility will seat approximately 250 people.
There are ten organizations that are expected to benefit from this, including the Arab Student Association, Campus Crusade for Christ, Catholic Student Organization, Chabad Jewish Student Union, College Conversations: SPACE, Hillel, Indian Cultural Association, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Muslims Student Association and YoungLife. Programming will be coordinated by the Office of Student Engagement and Leadership, formerly known as the Student Activities Office.
The pipe organ will be a focal point of the new building. The 3,184-pipe, 45-foot mechanical action pipe organ will be constructed by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders of Lake City, Iowa. Pipes will be made of either wood or tin alloy. The case for organ will be made of solid American black cherry wood.
“Because of its size, musical quality and the beauty of its setting, the organ will be one of the most notable organs in the South, ” Vaughn said.
The sculpture and fountain will feature a 75-foot lighted structure with 60 bells and various kinds of water flows.
The fairgrounds buildings were recently demolished to make way for the new building. The Office of Public Information was unsure of how many parking spaces would be affected by the construction.