Visit comes ahead of major renovation to Johnson Hall
Cookeville – With fall classes now underway, Tennessee Tech University’s College of Business is preparing a week of events to welcome students to their temporary home in Foundation Hall on the eastern side of Tech’s campus.
The College of Business’s planned activities in Foundation Hall include a photo booth Monday, Aug. 21, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Ralph’s Donuts and coffee Tuesday, Aug. 22, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m; popcorn and soda Wednesday, Aug. 23, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; and a “welcome back bash” Thursday, Aug. 24, from 11 a.m. to noon on the building’s front lawn near the student parking lot.
The College of Business’s longtime home in Johnson Hall is undergoing a two-year multimillion-dollar renovation to further enhance the student experience. Cheryl Montgomery, the college’s director of program development and engagement, says that special care has been taken to ensure students won’t miss a beat during this temporary relocation and emphasizes that incoming freshmen will be among the first to enjoy the remodeled Johnson Hall once updates are complete.
“We have painstakingly developed the most optimal utilization of Foundation Hall so that we are able to provide all of the services that we offered in Johnson Hall to our more than 1,300 students,” said Montgomery. “We placed over 92% of our classes in Foundation Hall, all faculty have offices in Foundation Hall, and we have made improvements to the building so that students enjoy being over here.”
“One of the things we told students in SOAR sessions over the summer is that when they begin their upper division classes, they will be in our remodeled building,” added Montgomery.
Facilities personnel have spent the summer months in Foundation Hall painting hallways and classroom spaces, refurbishing common areas and installing furniture and signage in anticipation of the College of Business’s arrival, while also replicating many of the popular features from Johnson Hall.
“We have a Bloomberg Laboratory and Scarlett & Murphy’s Business Professional Closet in Foundation Hall just like we did in Johnson Hall. We have installed a forensics lab and two I.T. labs, so all the services we offer to our students are available in Foundation Hall while we are here temporarily,” said Montgomery.
The Scarlett & Murphy’s Business Professional Closet is a free resource from the College of Business providing any university student with clothing options for interviews, presentations and other events requiring professional attire. The temporary location in Foundation Hall is room 155.
Leaders in Tech’s College of Business add that the coming improvements to Johnson Hall, which was first constructed in 1970, will be well worth the wait.
While specific design details are still being finalized, current plans for the building call for a complete reimagining of the interior spaces, including a multistory entrance, a more open floorplan that allows greater natural sunlight, new common areas for students to gather and more than 4,000 square feet of all-new specialized learning spaces.
“The newly designed Johnson Hall is configured to accommodate the way students learn today while providing flexibility for future growth,” said Thomas Payne, dean of the College of Business, in remarks last year. “Spaces are included in the design to provide students opportunities for collaboration, group presentations and experiential learning.”
“What we’re most enthusiastic about is the reworking of the entire footprint of Johnson Hall,” added Montgomery. “We’re building out something new and different. It’s truly exciting.”
The state of Tennessee provided key funding for the renovation of Johnson Hall and the concurrent demolition of the neighboring Foster Hall in its fiscal year 2023 budget. Tech President Phil Oldham offered praise for lawmakers’ support, explaining last year that “Gov. Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly invested heavily for Tech’s future students.”
The College of Business aims to move back into Johnson Hall from their temporary quarters in Foundation Hall over the holiday break in late 2025 so that classes for spring 2026 can meet in the remodeled building.
Learn more about Tech’s College of Business at www.tntech.edu/business.
Photo courtesy of Tech.