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Construction continues on campus

Quarterly status update details crucial renovations completed, major projects ahead

By Marissa Piccolo
On January 26, 2014

  • In this photo posted by @uconnlibraries on Twitter, the completed renovations to the courtyard behind the School of Business and Homer Babbidge are shown. Construction kept the area closed for most of the fall semester. TWITTER/@UCONNLIBRARIES

The construction team at the University of Connecticut is gearing up to plan for the many highly anticipated projects funded by NextGen CT.
According to the Quarterly Construction Status Update report, among many utility repairs were the completion of the water reclamation facility and an upgrade of the heating system in the floriculture greenhouse, replacing deteriorating pipes. The water reclamation facility will reduce UConn's dependence on conventional water sources and includes a microfiltration and ultraviolet radiation water treatment system.
The Arjona and Monteith buildings are once again occupied after completed renovations. They are finished with an upgraded interior with faculty office space for Counseling and Mental Health Services, College of Arts and Sciences, Veterans' Affairs and "swing space" for general classrooms.
There have been many improvements, both big and small, throughout campus, yet perhaps the most visible change for students and faculty is the reopening of the Whelton Quad between the School of Business, Information Technologies Engineering Building and Homer Babbidge Library.
The project, divided into two phases, first redesigned the courtyard to better accommodate for handicap access and pedestrian safety, with a new Dodd Center parking area, new walks, and drainage.
Following these highly prioritized improvements, the second phase focused on improving the overall quality of the courtyard by revamping the landscape, adding new sitting areas, trees, and a "rain garden."
According to the report, the goal was to foster an environment to "throw a Frisbee, read a book or simply lay on the grass."
Sophomore management information systems major Prakriti Kumar is one of many who are excited the quad has been reopened.
Having most of her classes in the School of Business, Kumar said, "It's definitely an improvement from the last courtyard, which I wouldn't even call one. It was just a field of grass with a pathway in the middle. However, the construction team did a good job with making use of the space."
Looking toward the upcoming year, senior construction project manager Brian Gore commented the next major completion will be the Basketball Development Center. Scheduled to be finished in early May of this year, the center - located on the west side of Gampel Pavilion - will be the new training facility for the men's and women's basketball programs.
The facility will contain practices, strength and conditioning, administrative offices, dining facilities, media rooms and a court matching the one inside Gampel Pavilion - a total of 76,000 gross square feet.
"We are also currently planning for the NextGen CT program which will allow more major development for the next 10 to 15 years," Gore said.
Master planning is already underway and a revised campus master plan is to be completed for December 2014.
Milestone projects already in place are the Innovation Partnership Building, started in November 2013, and a new Engineering Sciences Building to begin in January 2015. The new STEM residence hall and renovation of Putnam Refectory are scheduled to open by the end of summer 2016.
"I am proud of the team of dedicated professionals who manage these projects which have resulted in a major transformation of the university over the past twenty years," Gore said. "What I am most excited to see is the continuous progression in the ranking of the university as a major teaching and research university and to know that our students are being provided with the first class living and learning environments." 

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