With most of the students away from campus and warm weather making this the best time for large-scale projects, the ongoing enterprise of maintaining and upgrading the University goes into high gear during the summer months.
The projects already underway on the Storrs campus vary in size and expense, ranging from building renovations and utility work to new building construction that will keep the campus bustling over the next three months.
UConn’s Planning Architectural & Engineering Services Department has more than $400 million worth of projects currently in construction, including 46 that are on its summertime to-do list. The goal is for 30 of those to be completed by the time freshmen move into the residence halls at the end of August. Some of this summer’s notable projects include:
Next Generation Connecticut Hall, a new $105 million, multi-story, 727-bed dormitory complex, that will be the new residence for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) students starting this fall. The building will house eight Living & Learning Communities – EcoHouse, Engineering House, Eurotech House, Innovation House, STEM Honors, Public Health House, ScHOLA2RS House, and WiMSE (Women in Math, Science, & Engineering) House – as well as community gathering places and seminar rooms to encourage innovation across disciplines. Completion is scheduled for July.
The Putnam Refectory dining hall is undergoing $23 million in renovations to increase its seating capacity to 700 and improve self-service buffet areas, making room for students who will live in the new STEM Residence Hall nearby. Construction began in September 2015, with completion targeted for August.
The $162 million Innovation Partnership Research Building, the first facility being built in UConn’s Technology Park, will feature two specialty laboratories – the Advanced Characterization Lab and the Additive Manufacturing Innovation Center – housing state-of-the-art equipment and instrumentation that will enable UConn researchers to readily partner with industry scientists. Those collaborations are expected to include commercialization of technologies such as 3-D printing and cybersecurity. Construction began in June 2015, with completion slated for fall 2017.
The $95 million, five-story Engineering & Science Building will house high-performance laboratories for trans-disciplinary research in such fields as bio-nano engineering; cyber-physical systems engineering; chemical engineering; and other sciences. Designed to provide high-quality lab space to accommodate anticipated student and faculty growth associated with the Next Generation Connecticut initiative, completion is targeted for summer 2017.
Discovery Drive completion. The environmental permit for building the new $20 million road that provides access to UConn’s new Technology Park from U.S. Route 44, requires the University to convert 35 acres of woodland to farmland. The road opened in December 2015; creating the farmland acreage is slated to be completed by October.
The $25 million in renovations to the Monteith building that will become the new home of UConn’s Department of Math and other academic programs now housed in buildings that will be renovated later, such as the Gant Science Complex. Complete upgrades of interior mechanical, electrical, and informational technology systems, including air conditioning for offices, classrooms, and lecture halls, new seating in the Schenker Auditorium, and painting and floor finishing on all four floor levels are all scheduled to be completed by July.
Construction of a new 200,000 square-foot Student Recreation Center. This project involves the demolition of existing student housing at the Connecticut Commons, prior to beginning construction of the new Center. The loss of student housing at Connecticut Commons (435 beds) will be more than offset by the opening of Next Generation Connecticut Hall. The demolition project will take place this summer.
Gampel Pavilion roof repairs. UConn’s Board of Trustees recently decided to delay a $10 million project to repair the iconic basketball arena’s roof, in light of the state’s ongoing fiscal concerns. Although the Board voted in April to approve the repairs, the University was asked to identify projects that could be delayed, and fixing Gampel Pavilion’s roof was among those selected. The 10,000-seat dome’s roof – made of triangular metal panels wrapped in fabric – has been leaking for several years. UConn’s maintenance staff will continue to patch leaks as they occur.
Replacement of the utility infrastructure on North Eagleville Road, including upgrades to steam, water, and electrical duct systems to ensure reliable services supporting all buildings and student and faculty needs, from the Lakeside Building north to Tower Residences and east to the Jones Building. Upon completion of the utility work, targeted for September, new tree plantings, lawn restoration, upgrades to sidewalks, and three new seating areas – two at the Towers residences and one at the Dairy Bar – will be constructed. UConn has ongoing plans to improve decades-old utilities that have outlived their normal life expectancy, and will do so on an annual basis with as little disturbance to campus life as possible.
Visit the Department of Planning Architectural & Engineering Services website, where Construction Activity Maps offer more detailed information about UConn’s 2016 summer construction projects.