After three years, the wait is officially over for music students at UT.
In July, UT's School of Music completed its move to the newly constructed Natalie L. Haslam Music Center, located at the intersection of Volunteer Boulevard and Pat Head Summitt Street.
And that unveiling has been music to ears of students and faculty.
"I cannot properly put into words my feelings about this new building," Andrew Skoog, associate professor of voice in the School of Music said. "It is beyond anything I had expected it to be. This building will be a boon for the School of Music and will allow us to recruit the best students. It will also serve us well as we continue to add programs to our curriculum in the future."
According to Skoog, a new music building was in talks for years before development began.
"When I first heard that the building project was moving forward, I suppose I was somewhat skeptical," said Skoog, who begins his 11th year at UT this fall. "From the time of my appointment at UT in 2003, there were rumors floating around that the School of Music was high on a priority list for a new building, but every year it seemed to get pushed back.
"I knew that our director of the School of Music at the time, Roger Stephens, had a real vision and a passion to make a new building project a reality."
The center includes the 400-seat Sandra Powell Recital Hall, George F. DeVine Music Library, band room and office suite, eight technology-enhanced academic classrooms, three computer labs, a recording/mixing lab and many other amenities.
In addition, the music center was able to complete the Steinway Initiative by having over 90 percent of its pianos made by the world-renowned company.
More than 100 new pianos have been added this summer.
"This is the most remarkable thing I have ever been in," said Elizabeth Ream, junior in music education. "We used to be cramped up in Dunford (Hall)."
The previous music building, located in Dunford Hall, was built in 1964 to accommodate approximately 100 music students. The new music building holds over 400 aspiring musicians.
"There really is no comparison at all," Skoog said. "It had become run down; (With) leaks everywhere, inconsistent climate control, deteriorating classrooms, studios and rehearsal spaces.
"The worst aspect of the old building, though, is that it was simply too small to meet our growing needs."
Charlyn Hamilton, a graduate student in piano pedagogy, could not confirm the quality of the previous buildling but did allude to the scattered effect of its razing in Fall of 2010.
"I didn't see the previous building," Hamilton said. "But I came in the transition so we were in different buildings."
While the new music building was being constructed, students of the school of music and band were spread out in five separate buildings on the campus.
"The band and percussion studios were housed in HPER," Skoog said. "The voice, opera, strings and collaborative piano areas were housed in AMB (Alumni Memorial Building). The jazz and choral areas, as well as practice rooms, were housed in Melrose Hall. The music library and large classes were housed in Humanities, and Dunford Hall was home to the administrative offices, academic offices, an ear training lab and performance studios for the piano, brass and woodwind areas."
Since the new music building opened, music students and the Pride of the Southland Marching Band members finally have a place to call their own.
"The new Natalie L. Haslam Music Center is a facility worthy of the quality of the teaching that goes on here at UT," Skoog said. "And our students so deserve this new facility."