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Gov. Rowland provides $12.5 million for new building projects
September 29, 1997

Gov. John G. Rowland Thursday announced that the state Bond Commission on Friday will release more than $9 million for the construction of two new buildings and the renovation of several structures at the University of Connecticut's School of Fine Arts.

Additionally, the governor said the commission, which he chairs, would release more than $3.5 million for construction of a new Central Warehouse for UConn, which will be built near the Public Safety Complex on North Eagleville Road. The relocation of the warehouse continues the University's efforts to move all service-related facilities out of the University's central core, which will be reserved for academic buildings and student services.

"The grant we are announcing today represents an investment in Connecticut's future through the arts. We want to make Connecticut the best place in the world for connecting people to culture. To reach that goal, we have to invest in our institutions of higher education," Rowland said, standing in front of von der Mehden Recital Hall, part of the fine arts complex.

Robert Gray, dean of the School of Fine Arts, agreed."While we all are interested in the growing development of industry and business, we're also interested at UConn in the quality of life in Connecticut. The arts add significantly to that quality. This helps attract industry and employees to the state. It's great to see that the governor, too, has such a strong commitment to the arts. On behalf of the faculty and students at UConn, I thank you for your support," said Robert Gray, dean of the School of Fine Arts and a member of the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

The school offers undergraduate courses through three departments: art and art history; music; and dramatic arts. It offers master's degree programs in art, music, and dramatic arts. Faculty and students in the school last year presented 350 concerts, performances and exhibitions on campus, and more 500 activities in 85 Connecticut towns and cities through the school's outreach programs. The music library currently is a tiny area on the second floor of the music building that provides seating for only about 30 students at a time, including only 13 listening areas. The new music library building, a three-story, circular structure, will seat nearly 100 students, nearly half in individual or group listening areas. With more than 16,000 LPs in storage , and another 16,000 on the shelves , the new building will allow school officials to greatly expand the collections, which already number thousands of musical scores, CDs, audio and video cassettes, and journals.

"This marks another in a string of wonderful days for the University of Connecticut," said President Philip E. Austin. "This continues to push us in the right direction. We are well on the way to adding a state-of-the-art chemistry building and a beautiful new residence hall complex. New buildings are just over the horizon for our schools of business and pharmacy. Now, we can add the School of Fine Arts and, yes, a new parking garage and warehouse, to that list," he said. He noted that, while less glamorous, the garage and warehouse also are "vital to the efficient operation of this University."

Construction of the warehouse, expected to begin in about a month, will be completed by the end of the academic year, says Larry Schilling, executive director of facilities management. Dacon Corp. of Natick, Mass., was the project's low bidder.

Construction of the music and orchestra complex will take between 18 months and two years, he said. O&G Industries of Torrington was low bidder on the project, which will begin this fall.

Richard Veilleux