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August 25, 2003

Planning Begins For 21st Century UConn

The Board of Trustees last week began the process for determining the sequence of projects to be undertaken as part of the 21st Century UConn program, the $1.3 billion continuation of UConn 2000.

The 21st Century UConn program begins next July and coincides with the last year of the 10-year UConn 2000 program, which ends in June 2005.

The programs provide the University with an unprecedented ability to plan its future in terms of infrastructure, and they have become a national model for other public universities.

"Capital priorities reflect and align with program priorities," said Lorraine Aronson, vice president and chief financial officer. "Even though 70 percent of the gross square footage at Storrs and the regional campuses has been affected by UConn 2000, we still have many significant needs."

The UConn 2000 program has completed $912 million in projects to date, and has enjoyed strong bond ratings and market acceptance. The program has resulted in new buildings for chemistry, biology/physic s, music, marine sciences, the Stamford campus, information technology, and agriculture biotechnology, among others; and new residence halls that provide 1,300 new beds. The new housing includes 500 beds in suites and 500 in apartments in the Charter Oak complex and 300 in the new Husky Village designed for sororities and fraternities.

Fifty-three percent of UConn 2000 has been used for academic buildings, 21 percent for residential buildings, 18 percent for infrastructure, 5 percent for student services, 2 percent for athletics, and 1 percent for university support.

The Health Center was not part of UConn 2000 but is part of 21st Century UConn.

The trustees received and will review a list of priority projects for the early years of 21st Century UConn. It is the board's responsibility to sequence the projects, approve the scope of each project, and set a budget for each. Addition or deletion of projects within the list approved by the Legislature can only be done by legislative action.

The priority projects discussed last week include:

  • Replacement of the Torrey Life Sciences Building on North Eagleville Road. Built in 1961, the six-level facility, housing research labs, teaching labs, offices and classrooms, is in poor repair and in serious need of updating.
  • Replacement of Arjona and Monteith, classroom buildings that front on Mirror Lake. Each was built in 1959 and has 68,600 square feet on four levels. The buildings were originally part of UConn 2000, but were in such demand they could not be closed for replacement.
  • Construction of a research tower for the Health Center, to provide approximately 200,000 square feet of research labs and support space for the nuclear medicine research
  • program.
  • Replacement of some of the buildings in the Fine Arts complex with a Frank Gehry-designed signature building that will unite the school's programs under one roof. The design will allow for the project to be phased in over several years.
  • Extension of North Hillside Road, which will open more than 3,000 acres for development in the future and provide an entrance to the campus from Route 44, relieving Route 195 of some traffic.
  • Renovations to the main building of the Health Center, built more than 30 years ago, to provide new, flexible, efficient research lab space and upgrade heating, ventilating, air conditioning, electrical, and lighting systems.
  • Renovations to the Health Center's academic buildings, including renovations that will benefit both the School of Medicine and the School of Dental Medicine.
  • Construction of new residential facilities, including the replacement of West Campus and the Graduate Residences.
  • Construction of recreational/ practice facilities to accommodate student demand and the expanding football program. Student use of the recreational facilities last year was up 4 percent and included nearly 500,000 visits. Expansion of recreational facilities was one of the recommendations of the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Task Force.

The projects must be sequenced not only to align with program priorities but also to fit within the annual bond caps set in the 21st Century UConn legislation.

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