Investment Today Yields Short- and Long-Term Growth
Next Generation Connecticut is creating construction jobs and, more significantly, will produce sustainable long-term employment in high technology fields. This initiative will also leverage and maximize the State of Connecticut’s related investments in Bioscience Connecticut, Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, Aerospace Reinvestment Act and the Advanced Manufacturing Fund, among others. By 2024, Next Generation Connecticut will yield over 2,000 new permanent jobs in prominent fields related to research and approximately 30,000 construction jobs.
Further investment in STEM will result in dramatic increases in both STEM research and STEM graduates, in turn producing innovations and inventions that will directly contribute to sustainable economic growth for Connecticut.
Other states have made similar investments in STEM research, creating jobs and increasing their economies. In each state, positive outcomes have accrued and jobs have been created with strong ROI. It is now our time and the University is prepared to join the ranks of the top STEM institutions and states in the country.
A Record of Success: Return on Previous Investments
The UConn 2000 investments are the major contributors to UConn’s growing reputation for academic excellence and its emergence as a leader in higher education, drawing top students from Connecticut and the rest of the nation. UConn’s rise during the past 16 years has been astounding, the result of strategic State support that was wisely invested in both facilities and infrastructure. Beginning in 1996, UConn’s
- Undergraduate enrollment increased by 54 percent;
- Undergraduate STEM enrollment increased by 115 percent;
- Average freshman SAT scores increased by 120 points to 1233;
- Undergraduate degrees awarded per year increased by 74 percent;
- Graduate/professional degrees awarded per year increased by 35 percent.
Record numbers of applications from high-caliber students and support for student success resulted in UConn’s increase in national rankings from #38 to #21 among public universities in 2012, according to U.S. News & World Report. UConn currently enrolls 13 percent of Connecticut’s high school seniors and our fall 2012 class, once again, included the largest, most diverse, and most academically talented students ever admitted.
This further investment in STEM will result in dramatic increases in both STEM research and STEM graduates, in turn producing innovations and inventions that will directly contribute to sustainable economic growth for Connecticut.
Development of the New Campus Master Plan and Capital Plan
In January 2014, the University embarked on a master planning process to define a 20-year vision for the campus and meet the goals of NGC. It is imperative that the siting of new buildings and facilities be planned in a thoughtful, cost-effective, and sustainable manner.
The Master Plan must also support the University’s new Academic Plan. The ‘existing condition’ data collection phase of the Master Plan is complete, and analysis is in process for utilities, transportation, environmental, landscape, and space planning including research, teaching, residential and administrative space. Benchmark space planning metrics for peer and aspirant institutions have been gathered and are being compared to UConn’s existing data to inform the direction for new and renovated buildings. Opportunities for improvement have been identified with input from faculty, students and staff and will be organized for review in early Fall 2014. The final draft of the Master Plan will be ready in December 2014 for adoption by the UConn Board of Trustees in early Spring 2015.
One important component of the Campus Master Plan is a Capital Plan that delineates the specifics of every capital project to be undertaken. These projects, and their current status, are described below:
Capital Program Overview
Implementation of the capital plan is critical to achieving all of the goals of NGC. To accommodate the additional faculty, staff and students, and to enhance UConn’s STEM disciplines, a major capital investment is essential. The investment is needed to support new and renovated facilities for research and teaching labs, classrooms, academic support, residence and dining halls, parking, utilities, information technology, equipment and various infrastructure upgrades.
New STEM facilities will provide state-of-the-art research space, including multi-disciplinary laboratories, centralized core facilities and equipment. In order to foster and enable faculty collaborations across diverse disciplines in STEM, shared equipment will be purchased, such as the functional magnetic resonance imaging system (fMRI), and additive manufacturing equipment. This will also include startup equipment in support of the new faculty. Startup equipment may include advanced lasers, sensors, cell culture facilities, atomic force microscopes, polymer extruders, metals processing equipment, etc. This equipment will be critical in growing the capabilities of the faculty to compete for major research grants in emerging areas of manufacturing, materials, energy, biomedical technologies, information science and systems genomics. Additional funds will be used to accommodate growth and upgrade our information technology data center.
In conjunction with the new facilities, the University will consolidate academic programs, and create new or renovate existing academic learning environments.
The consistently high demand for on-campus housing at the University and the planned enrollment growth will require additional residence halls. A STEM Living & Learning Community residence hall and an Honors residence hall will be constructed to support the recruitment of high achieving STEM students. In addition, the University will renovate existing residential life facilities. In consultation with surrounding towns, the University will need to improve its parking, public transportation and roadways. This includes new centralized parking, relocation of existing parking lots and various traffic improvements throughout campus.
The planned expansions will also necessitate infrastructure upgrades, such as steam line replacement, sewer system upgrades, a supplemental water supply, and various other underground utility improvements.
Status of Current Facility Projects
The University has already begun to move forward on several projects to meet the needs of additional enrollment and new faculty. These projects include the new Engineering and Science Building, two new residence halls, the Hartford Campus relocation, and the Stamford Campus housing initiative.
Engineering and Science Building
The School of Engineering is located in several buildings, five on the main Storrs campus and four at the Depot campus. The three oldest and least renovated buildings on the main campus were built between 1959 and 1987 and cannot support emerging interdisciplinary engineering programs such as bioengineering and nanotechnology. A planning study identified program components for a new Engineering & Science building that will be a state-of-the-art laboratory for trans-disciplinary research in Bio-Nano Engineering, Cyber-Physical System Engineering, Chemical Engineering and other Sciences that will catalyze research advances in convergence technologies. Design of the new building is almost complete. Construction of the Engineering and Science Building will begin in January 2015 and will be completed by the end of 2016.
Residential Life Facilities
Two new residence halls and the renovation of a dining hall are currently in the planning and design phases for the Storrs campus. The first residence hall will be dedicated to entering students enrolled in the STEM programs and have approximately 725 beds. The 210,000 gross square foot housing complex will serve as a living and learning community. The current target completion date for the project is Fall 2016. The second residence hall, the Honors Residence Hall, will provide housing for entering Honors students, include space requirements for the Honors program and will have approximately 650 beds. The facility will be approximately 240,000 gross square feet and will include seminar rooms, education programming rooms, music rooms, Honors program office area and a dining hall. The current target completion date for the project is Fall 2017. The Putnam Refectory Renovation project will provide dining facilities for the new adjacent STEM residence hall. This project will renovate the lower and upper floors of the Putnam Refectory in order to accommodate an increased seating capacity of 300 seats for a total of a 700 seat dining facility. The current target completion date for the project is Fall 2016.
Regional Campuses: Hartford relocation, Stamford housing, and Avery Point campus projects
Relocating the Greater Hartford Campus to downtown Hartford will provide enhanced service learning and internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate education programs; expand economic activity through increased interaction with local businesses; and consolidate undergraduate programs, Department of Public Policy, School of Social Work and School of Business into one downtown location. The proximity to downtown Hartford will increase transfer access for community college students. UConn Hartford will be a neighborhood campus with one central iconic structure, supplemented by classrooms and teaching spaces located in surrounding institutions with existing vacant or underutilized space. The current target completion date is Fall 2017.
Since the Stamford Downtown Campus was constructed, additional students have been attracted by the new downtown facility and the establishment of degree programs. This student growth, combined with NGC’s planned academic expansions, has raised the need for residential housing in Stamford. In response to a public solicitation, the University is in the process of evaluating proposals to provide residential housing for students at or near the UConn Stamford campus. The current goal is to have housing available for the Fall 2017 semester.
The Avery Point Campus includes dilapidated facilities, formerly known as the Coast Guard Research & Development Building Barracks and Mess Hall, located at the center of the campus. Built in the 1930s, they are approximately 460,000 gross square feet, rarely used since 1970 and unoccupied since 2006. The buildings are currently being evaluated and documented for demolition. Planning for renovations to the academic building and waterfront facility will follow their demolition.
Future Projects at various stages in the planning process:
Academic and Research Facilities
New STEM facilities will provide state-of-the-art research space, including multi-disciplinary laboratories, centralized core facilities and equipment, to accommodate a growing number of research faculty and the increasing student enrollments in these disciplines. Expansion of research space is necessary to enable the University to recruit outstanding faculty and develop emerging interdisciplinary research collaborations.
The Gant Building complex, which includes the Institute of Materials Science, Physics and Math buildings, was completed in the early 1970s. The complex has a total of 238,000 gross square feet of space with offices, research labs, classrooms and computer facilities. A major renovation or replacement of the space is required to address the physical deterioration, to update the research and teaching facilities and to meet current program requirements.
The Torrey Life Sciences Building was constructed in 1961. The six level facility has 148,000 gross square feet of research labs, teaching labs, offices and classrooms. The primary occupant of the building is the Biology Department. This building is in poor condition, probably not susceptible to cost-effective renovation, and therefore likely to be demolished. Until that can occur, some repairs will be needed.
Final plans for science facilities, including whether to renovate or demolish and construct new buildings with respect to Gant and Torrey, will be developed in late Fall 2014.
The University completed an expansion to the existing heating plant when a new Cogeneration system was completed in 2006. The University will need additional chilled water, emergency power for life safety as well as emergency power for business continuity purposes to accommodate new growth. Also, the University needs to address utility issues in the expanding North end of campus. Planning activities are expected to begin for a new Supplemental Utility Plant to service new facilities in that area.
Other active infrastructure projects include the replacement of the main water line from the Willimantic well fields to Storrs and sewage treatment plant repairs. Other future infrastructure projects include steam infrastructure in the central campus and below campus roads, and electrical substation and capacity improvements. Also, a new Main Accumulation Area for short-term storage of regulated wastes from academic labs and support operations, and new academic and research facilities will be needed.
The University will utilize the final Campus Master Plan to confirm planning assumptions for projects that have already begun and to develop assumptions for the new projects. The Campus Master Plan implementation will be divided into two sections, 2014-2024, which coincides with NGC funding, and 2024-2034.The concurrent identification of project sites for both decades will facilitate adherence to the principles of the Campus Master Plan and the thoughtful integration of the infrastructure systems that support the projects. The Campus Master Plan will document the vision and implementation strategies for UConn’s physical plant development as a premier research university and economic driver for the State.