A multi-year project has begun this summer to replace many of UConn’s underground utilities. The work is part of the Next Generation Connecticut initiative, which was approved by the Connecticut General Assembly in 2013 and involves $1.5 billion in capital improvements over 10 years.
Many of the utilities that are being replaced are as old as the buildings they serve, having been installed at the time of construction. More than half of the pipes currently in use are more than 40 years old, according to a report prepared by consultants Fuss & O’Neill in 2009.
The steam pipes for Wilbur Cross Building, the former University Library, were installed during construction in 1938 to 1939, as part of a then-unprecedented bond issue of nearly $3 million approved by the Connecticut General Assembly for new buildings on the campus of what was then called Connecticut State College.
“These lines are still active and have outlived their expected useful life times two,” says Mike Jednak, associate vice president for facilities operations and building services.
The building was the first structure on campus built specifically to house the library. It was also one of the first campus buildings to have air conditioning, being equipped with environmental controls to protect its collections from fluctuating temperatures and humidity.
In May 1939, the same month the Wilbur Cross Library was completed, the College became the University of Connecticut.