Major Projects to Benefit Students at Campuses Around State

The Rectory Building in downtown Waterbury gets a makeover on the way to becoming classroom space for UConn's Waterbury campus. (Victor Schiavi/UConn Photo)

The Rectory Building in downtown Waterbury gets a makeover on the way to becoming classroom space for UConn’s Waterbury campus. (Victor Schiavi/UConn Photo)

A historic building in downtown Waterbury that’s hosted everything from community dances to meetings of a Prohibition-era intemperance league is about to get a new life as a UConn academic building.

The 1900s-era St. Patrick’s Hall building on East Main Street – known informally as the Rectory Building – is being renovated through a partnership between UConn, the City of Waterbury, and the Waterbury Development Corp.

The four-story building across the street from UConn Waterbury is being transformed from an empty shell to a collection of classrooms, meeting spaces, and study areas. An upscale coffee shop will also operate there when the renovated structure opens in the 2015-16 academic year.

“This project provides so many benefits to so many parties – the University itself, the city, our students and employees, and our campus neighbors,” says William Pizzuto, director of UConn Waterbury.

The view from the Rectory Building looking across East Main Street at the UConn campus. (Victor Schiavi/UConn Photo)

The view from the Rectory Building looking across East Main Street at the UConn campus. (Victor Schiavi/UConn Photo)

“It’s great for our students and employees because it gives them a new option for food and more space for programs. And it’s great for the city because more UConn people will be leaving our building and getting to explore what all of downtown Waterbury has to offer,” he adds.

The city owns the Rectory Building and, in partnership with the Waterbury Development Corp., is renovating the structure to create six classrooms, various meeting and support spaces, and a large assembly hall on the top floor.

UConn will rent the building from the city. This week, the Board of Trustees approved a $2.5 million planning budget to outfit the interior with the furnishings, audio-visual equipment, technology, and other amenities necessary for the University’s operations there.

The project is among several significant projects under way at several UConn regional campuses, largely under the auspices of the Next Generation Connecticut program.

Some of the most transformational include:

  • The establishment of a downtown Hartford location, which will become the new home of programs and services currently at the Greater Hartford campus in West Hartford. Final agreements to authorize the move were signed on June 3, and construction is expected to start at the site – anchored by the former Hartford Times building – in 2015, so classes can begin there in fall 2017. UConn is currently in the midst of the schematic design, which is expected to be finished by the end of summer.
  • The demolition of two large, outdated block buildings in the midst of the Avery Point campus that date to the 1930s and were once used by the U.S. Coast Guard. Many of the utilities serving campus run through those connected buildings, making their removal more complicated than a normal demolition. With $10 million allocated through Next Gen, however, they are expected to come down starting this fall, with completion targeted around the end of summer 2015. The area will then be transformed into a nicely landscaped green space more in keeping with the character of the waterfront campus.
  • The creation of a public-private partnership to provide up to 400 beds of rental housing for students attending UConn Stamford, where new programs planned under Next Gen are expected to boost enrollment in business, digital media, and other programs. The University received a variety of proposals earlier this year from property owners and developers, and is currently reviewing the options. If all remains on schedule, the housing would be available to rent starting in fall 2017.