The University of Connecticut Board of Trustees voted Wednesday to begin a process intended to bring the first-ever student housing to a UConn campus outside Storrs.
The plan is to build housing for 400 students close to the Stamford Campus. The campus is predicted to more than double its current student population of 1,400 through the Next Generation Connecticut initiative.
“We believe the demand is there,” said Sally Reis, vice provost for academic affairs. “We conducted a survey of students, and the response was overwhelming. Eighty-two percent said they’d be interested in housing at Stamford.”
Currently, the 1,400 or so students at Stamford either have to live locally or commute. Because of the high cost of living in the city, rent can be steep for college students.
Although UConn is in the earliest stages of the plan – the next step is to issue an “expression of interest,” before moving on to a formal request for proposals – the goal would be to provide housing in both studio and multi-bedroom units. Each would have a living area, bathroom, and small kitchen.
Although finding an exact location for the housing units will be part of the process, Reis said a recent meeting with civic and business leaders in Stamford revealed a significant amount of excitement at the idea of students living in the city’s booming downtown.
The tentative goal is to have the housing units open by Sept. 2016. UConn has been in Stamford since 1951, but the anticipated growth in business and digital media programs through Next Generation Connecticut means that the current campus, which UConn has occupied since 1998, will be getting much busier in a short span of time.
Said Reis, “We want to be part of a very visible downtown Stamford renewal.”