The former Bergin Correctional Institution site, which UConn has owned for the past six years, will be transferred back to the State of Connecticut under a plan that the Board of Trustees approved Wednesday.
The approximately 35-acre property, which sits on Route 44 across from the Depot Campus, will be transferred to the state Office of Policy & Management, along with about 25 acres of adjacent undeveloped UConn property.
OPM has been working with the Connecticut Technical Education & Career System (CTECS) to assess the property as the potential future site of a new regional technical high school, which would replace Windham Tech in Willimantic.
UConn will incur no cost related to the transfer of the land and buildings to OPM or, if necessary, the future reversion of the land to UConn.
OPM originally transferred ownership of the former Bergin Correctional Institution land and its buildings to UConn in March 2015, with the understanding that there might someday be a need for the state Department of Education to use at least some of it.
The University had planned to use the Bergin land and some of its buildings for various administrative, research, and operational purposes, but infrastructure conditions and other factors limited its use.
However, UConn has been able to use it for other purposes over the past six years, including as a parking and staging site for contractors’ vehicles as they have worked on construction projects on the main campus. While close enough for convenience, it has been ideally far enough away from student housing and classrooms to avoid disrupting daily operations.
Before OPM transferred it to UConn in 2015, the site most recently had been the minimum-security Bergin Correctional Institution, which closed in August 2011. It consists of four buildings and associated parking.
If the state does not end up using it, all of the transferred land would be returned to UConn.
OPM intends to demolish the buildings and prepare the property for development immediately, so any future return of the land would be without those existing buildings, leaving a relatively well-prepared site if UConn decided to develop it.
Also, the new technical high school will require the installation of significant regional utility infrastructure improvements, which could have long-term benefits to the nearby Depot Campus and present opportunities to upgrade areas of that campus as well.