State officials have given UTC the go-ahead to begin planning a $59 million student residence hall to ease chronic bed shortages at the Chattanooga campus.

But the location isn't the Chattanooga State Office Building on McCallie Avenue, as some expected.

State Building Commission members recently approved full planning for the 600-bed, dormitory-style hall on a site near Douglas and East Fifth streets that now houses UTC's nearly 40-year-old Racquet Center and adjacent tennis courts.

"This is just the first step," said Chuck Cantrell, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga associate vice chancellor. He added that UTC will need to seek additional building commission approval at various other stages, including construction.

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