UConn On-Campus Construction Update: January 2023

Several transformational projects are underway or about to start at UConn Storrs in 2023

Looking down on Wilbur Cross from a drone after a winter snowstorm.

(Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Several transformational projects are underway or about to start at UConn Storrs in 2023 as the University evolves to meet the current and future needs of its student body, research mission, and academic operations.

With that work often requiring detours or other changes in regular on-campus operations, the University is starting a monthly update to inform students, faculty, staff, and guests about the status of significant projects and to help them anticipate changes in traffic and pedestrian patterns.

This is the first such monthly update, one of many resources that the University will offer to provide pertinent information on these projects and the short-term changes they may prompt.

South Campus Residence Hall Construction

Site work is underway for construction of a new South Campus residence hall near the corner of Mansfield and Gilbert roads. The facility will have 657 beds and a 500-seat dining hall, and is expected to open to residents in fall 2024.

A related project to extend necessary infrastructure to the site begins in late spring, including work to provide geothermal heating and cooling in the new residence hall.

To accommodate the construction, UConn expects to enact detours and other traffic pattern changes around the area at various times, all of which will be posted in advance and managed with on-site personnel as needed to ensure safety and traffic flow.

Construction fencing has been erected, and site work continues with excavation for the residence hall’s new foundations, including controlled blasting to allow for utility installation and deep foundations. The blasting began earlier this month and is anticipated to be complete by Jan. 17.

People nearby on or off campus may hear audible warning signals before and after the occasional blasting events: Three whistles mean 5 minutes until the blast; two whistles mean 1 minute to blast; and one whistle means all clear. The activity will occur only between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays.

UConn has been preparing for the traffic changes prompted by the residence hall construction by tracking vehicle parking to determine appropriate alternatives as needed. It will also require contractors’ non-construction vehicles to be parked in designated spots at the Depot Campus to avoid using more spaces near the project site.

The parking needs are also coordinated around E.O. Smith High School’s schedule to avoid delaying its buses in traffic, and to direct as much of the construction truck traffic on and off campus to avoid times when employees’ morning and afternoon commuting traffic is heaviest.

Mansfield Apartments Demolition and Replacement

A separate student housing project also will be taking place in the southeastern corner of campus, albeit on a different schedule: demolition of the outmoded Mansfield Apartments complex and construction of new student apartments with modern amenities.

The 16-acre site, located near the corner of Routes 195 and 275 at the southeastern corner of UConn Storrs, will be cleared of the existing buildings starting at the end of this month and will be complete by April.

Asbestos abatement began in the summer 2022 and will wrap up just prior to demolition activities. Temporary fencing also is being installed, followed by construction of the new complex and an anticipated opening in fall 2025.

Truck traffic to and from the site is being coordinated along with that of the South Campus residence hall traffic, with the same considerations of avoiding heavy commuter periods and E.O. Smith High School bus travel times.

More details will be provided on detours, construction logistics, and other impacts in coming months.

Science One Complex / Gant Renovations

UConn’s transformational new Science One complex, which has been under construction since summer 2020 as part of the Northwest Science Quad, is about to open for classes, research, administrative uses, and other purposes.

Faculty and staff from various locations at UConn have been relocating their offices in recent days to their new spaces in Science One, including the Institute of Materials Science, which is moving over from the Gant Science Complex.

Those moves will continue as researchers set up their labs throughout winter and spring, and the long-awaited 198,000-square-foot facility comes online permanently.

Other work associated with the site also has been completed, such as paving and adding the paint striping to the nearby parking lot, establishing sidewalks and a new bus stop, installing a covered bike shelter near the west entry, completing the lighting and landscaping, and other items.

Schedules for the Gant renovation and Science One construction are being managed in tandem, since renovations in Gant’s north tower cannot begin until the occupants move from Gant into the new Science One space.

The Gant complex renovation has included an overhaul of the three-wing building broken down into phases, with work already complete in the south wing, plaza area, and west wing.

If all remains on schedule, the north wing (phase three) construction will start after Commencement in May and be substantially complete in summer 2025. It includes renovating the wing to match the updates in the others, and adding about 9,000 square feet of additional usable space.

Other Projects in the Works

• A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly completed Toscano Family Ice Forum will take place Jan. 12, kicking off a weekend of Hockey East action at the new state-of-the-art rink.

• Safety-related improvements are underway to traffic signal and pedestrian facilities at the intersection of North Eagleville Road and Discovery Drive. Work will also be included at the nearby intersection of North Eagleville and Auditorium roads since their signalization controls are linked.

New poles, mast arms, and traffic control equipment will be added this spring along with pedestrian signal heads, push-button pedestals, curb ramp and crosswalk improvements, and other features. The roads will not close, but some traffic patterns might be temporarily amended for short periods during specific parts of the project, which is expected to be complete around the end of the semester.

• Building improvements at the Division of University Safety complex on North Eagleville Road are close to complete, although supply chain issues caused delays in receiving some materials that had been expected for earlier delivery.

The project includes an addition to the east side of the building for UConn Fire Department offices and a vestibule, enlargement of the dispatch center and main lobby, and other changes to accommodate the division’s space needs. All public safety functions continue uninterrupted throughout the project, including emergency 911 service, routine and emergency police and fire response, and other services.