The University’s plan for a campus in downtown Hartford took a step forward this week, as the Board of Trustees approved a $115 million design budget to begin construction work at the main building that will anchor UConn Hartford.
The board also approved the purchase of a nearby structure, located at 38 Prospect Street, to provide additional academic space to the downtown campus. The cost of purchasing the building is included in the design budget. UConn officials say the acquisition is further evidence of the University’s commitment to Hartford. And it may allow UConn to start developing its presence there in advance of opening the main building.
The additional 35,000 square-foot-building increases the downtown space for the campus activities to 217,000 square feet. The main building, the former Hartford Times headquarters, will accommodate approximately 70 percent of the academic programmatic needs, and is scheduled for completion by July 2017.
The University will hold an official groundbreaking ceremony at the Hartford Times building on Monday, May 18.
UConn’s plans to return the campus to Hartford – announced last June – are part of its broader commitment to the vitality of the region and state, and the learning, research, and outreach components of its academic mission. The move also returns UConn to its urban roots. Although it has been in West Hartford since 1970, UConn’s first campus in the region was established in 1939 in Hartford.
By relocating the Hartford campus from West Hartford to downtown Hartford, UConn envisions creating a neighborhood campus fully intertwined with the nearby Hartford Public Library, Wadsworth Atheneum, Connecticut Science Center, Connecticut Convention Center, and state and city government offices. The main building will also include retail space at the ground floor level to enliven the streetscape.
UConn’s nearby Graduate Business Learning Center will also be consolidated with other University programs, including the Department of Public Policy and the School of Social Work, at the new campus.
The new UConn Hartford campus will be home to about 2,300 students and 250 faculty members. Classes could begin at the new campus as early as fall 2017.