UConn Stamford’s first residence hall opened Wednesday amid a celebratory crowd of university officials, state leaders, and some of the students who will call it home starting next week.
The six-story, 116-unit building at 900 Washington Blvd., just two blocks south of UConn Stamford, will house almost 300 students annually and will operate in the same way as the Storrs residence halls, with resident assistants and study lounges.
It is the culmination of several years of work that responds to student demand at that campus, which is UConn’s largest regional location with 1,700 undergraduates and 600 graduate students. Although the campus has been growing, the vast majority of students had to commute from other communities because they could not afford Stamford apartment rents.
The new UConn residence hall is a public-private partnership in which UConn holds a master sublease from the building’s developer and operates the apartments as student housing, making the cost much more affordable for students.
UConn President Susan Herbst said at Wednesday’s event that the housing also will help students have a genuine urban university experience, in which they can take advantage of Stamford’s many offerings while creating community with others who live in the hall.
“With an array of internship opportunities, cultural offerings, prominent employers, and the unique aspects of city life right outside their front door, the students who choose to live here can enjoy a dynamic urban university experience,” Herbst said.
“You hear this phrase perhaps too often, but in this case, it is true: this is a game-changer. This experience will pay dividends long into the future for our alumni, the University, and the city,” she added.
See video of student life at UConn Stamford.
The building at 900 Washington Blvd. is halfway between the main campus and the Stamford Transportation Center.
“With leading programs in digital media and business, a location in a vibrant city, and access to an established transportation hub linking students to the entire eastern seaboard, it is no surprise UConn Stamford is growing and thriving,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a former Stamford mayor who has been a strong supporter of UConn’s plans for student housing there.
“We are thrilled this new residence hall will connect hundreds of students to their campus, internship opportunities, and cultural experiences right here in downtown Stamford,” he said.
The new building is six stories tall, with 116 apartment units: 10 studios, 49 one-bedrooms, and 57 two-bedrooms. Seventeen apartments on the top floor also have lofts.
One hundred designated parking spaces for students are available, and full-time security service is in place for the property. Each floor has a study lounge, and the second floor has a large reading room and a recreation room where students can congregate.
The per-bed cost of a shared bedroom in the UConn Stamford residence hall ranges from $995 per month to $1,295 per month, based on an academic year lease. They are all fully furnished with bedroom, living room, and kitchen furniture.
By comparison, one-bedroom Stamford apartments on the open market average $1,900 monthly and two-bedroom units average $2,700 monthly.
UConn embarked on the residence hall plan as part of the Next Generation Connecticut plan, a 10-year initiative championed by Malloy and approved by the General Assembly to expand UConn’s academic offerings in STEM areas (science, technology, engineering, and math).
That plan also included $10 million to support the Stamford student housing plan, which students overwhelmingly supported when asked in a survey in 2013.
The University received 500 Stamford housing applications for fall 2017. Ultimately the residence hall will house more than 260 full-time students when its doors open next week, bringing it to nearly full capacity in its first year.
The maximum occupancy is approximately 320 students. Because some of the bedrooms will be single occupancy, the target occupancy is about 290 students in an average year.
UConn has had a presence in Stamford since 1951, when it began offering extension courses in the former Stamford High School. A year later, a regional campus was formally established, with an enrollment of 21 part-time students.
The campus moved to a new building in 1962, with four-year degrees being offered in several fields of study starting in the 1970s. UConn Stamford moved to its current downtown location in 1998.