UConn Draws 13 Proposals For West Hartford Campus Relocation

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The University of Connecticut drew 13 proposals from downtown Hartford property owners for relocating the university’s West Hartford campus into the city.

UConn spokeswoman Stephanie Reitz told me this afternoon that the proposals were received by the March 6 deadline — and are already under review. Reitz said she could not comment on the proposed locations or whether any of the sites had already been considered by the university.

UConn was widely known to be closely evaluating the former Travelers Education Center on Constitution Plaza, after the university’s board of trustees approved $243,000 for the study. The university hasn’t commented on any sites it is considering, but a decision in January to widen its search raised questions about their intentions for the education center.

In addition to the Constitution Plaza site, the nearby One Talcott Plaza — near the old G. Fox building — has also been mentioned as a potential location. At 103,000 square feet, One Talcott Plaza is smaller than the 150,000 square feet of space UConn says it needs for classrooms, laboratories, offices, conference rooms and other uses.

The campus, however, could be in more than one building.

Day and evening enrollment will be at least 3,100 students and 300 faculty members. There must be parking for 850 cars during the day and 800 at night.

UConn’s decision to move its Greater Hartford campus back to Hartford followed a review of the aging West Hartford campus. The review showed it would cost nearly $25 million to repair and restore the deteriorated buildings and campus. In the past four years, the university has spent $7.2 million on repairs at the West Hartford campus.

The Greater Hartford campus opened in Hartford in 1939 and moved to various locations around the city. In 1970, it moved to its present 58-acre regional campus off Trout Brook Drive.

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46 thoughts on “UConn Draws 13 Proposals For West Hartford Campus Relocation

  1. ed


    1. Rising Star

      Might as well call it an “urban setting” with “those” people living in the area. Biggest difference is you will have your child continue to suffer the ignorance you impart on them…unless…they decide to go to school on their own dime and choose a great school such as UConn, even if it is located in downtown Hartford.

      1. Hartford resident

        Thank you, Rising Star, for highlighting Ed’s utter ignorance of downtown proper. The irony of his misapprehension is that, in most metro areas around the country, the most highly educated cross sections of the population live in densely settled, pedestrian-friendly environments (the nicer ones to be sure, but urban environments nonetheless). Though smaller than most center cities, downtown Hartford also draws a high proportion of college graduates and those with graduate degrees. That sounds to me like an ideal environment for students aspiring to make strong connections with highly educated potential colleagues or employers.

  2. zsazsa

    Prices for downtown real estate are relatively low right now, so it will be to UConn’s financial advantage to buy property in downtown Hartford. But it’s not good for the students or faculty. The West Hartford campus is safe and convenient, with free parking and no fear of muggings. I cannot see any way in which a downtown campus will be able to provide free, safe parking, nor will it be easy to get into Hartford for classes during rush hour. The best thing for the students and faculty is to leave the campus right where it is.

    1. UConn HFD Great!

      Last I checked, my wife went to the UConn Business school, in DOWNTOWN Hartford and never had to pay for parking. They had a garage for students to use that they were given a wand to access. My guess would be that they would do something similar here. There are plenty of garages close to the areas being mentioned in these articles.

      Some of you need to lighten up and realize that these students might actually enjoy going to a downtown setting where there’s restaurants in walking distance. I drive by the WH campus every day and it’s looking worn down.

      Some of you are just looking for more ways for Hartford to fail instead of embracing something that will be great for this city. So get over your stereotypes and bigotry and be happy for once (I know that’s very challenging for many of you grumpy CT residents)

  3. Ralph

    I have worked at the UConn West Hartford campus for 12 years and I don’t think that even 10% of the students and faculty want to move. The campus needs work, to be sure, but it is safe and easy to get to, especially for students in Avon and Canton. Let’s drop this nonsense right now and spend what it takes to get the West Hartford campus up to standards.

      1. James

        Let me guess: Ralph lives in Avon or Canton and that’s why he mentions those two towns. He could as easily have picked Wethersfield, Glastonbury, or any of the several dozen towns in the area. But, as Voice of Reason below can see, some people are depressingly narrow in their world view. The reality is that, by locating in downtown Hartford, the campus will most successfully draw from the population centers on all sides of the city and from the city itself.

      2. ed

        wanting to be safe is not being scared. north end blacks would kill all the whites if they thought they could get away with it

  4. jory johnson

    Great idea! The current location is horrible – nothing to do, nowhere to hang out, nowhere to eat, no energy, the campus is bleak and depressing. A downtown location gives the UCONN branch the shot of energy it needs.

  5. Thank God for a Voice of Reason

    You have to remember the small-mindedness of CT suburbanites when you attempt to have an intelligent conversation about this issue. These people won’t even go 10 minutes from their houses, let alone go to a city. Ignore them.

    1. DR

      The “small-mindedness” comment is deliciously ironic coming from someone with such a small-minded and ignorant view of “suburanites.”

    2. Alison

      Exactly. Those of us who live in, and embrace, all that downtown Hartford has to offer know how limited this view is. This could be the best thing that happens for UConn’s outpost, as well as for the city of Hartford.
      Meanwhile, are they kidding about parking and crime?? There are car break-ins in West Hartford all the time. The students cars will probably safer in a free, secure garage. This type of comment is pure ignorance.

  6. Benjamin foley

    The State finally has a chance to give Hartford the shot in the arm it has needed since i cant remember when. Hartford is not going to be the city we all hope for because of a convention center, the Whalers, an independent theater or a science center. What Hartford needs is a young educated population that will perhaps decide that because their school is downtown they might actually live there. Which might attract businesses that might actually stay open on the weekend, which because of all the amenities might even attract companies to make a bet on the City. Which could possibly lead to a vibrant, safe and different Hartford then you may know today. Just like most, I am guilty of bashing Hartford, however these opportunities only come around every 25 years or so. Please State dont screw this up! Go Whalers!

  7. Patrick

    Well said Rising Star, James and Benjamin Foley. Unfortunately many people don’t see the bigger picture here and don’t want an/or believe Hartford(and by extension greater Hartford) can be successful long term. Also many people don’t understand that to make downtown more vibrant and successful you need middle-class people working, living, going to school downtown. This move is one big part of that.

    Unfortunately change won’t come overnight, just like it wasn’t overnight that downtown businesses and residents left. It started in the 60s and ended in the 80s, almost 30 years. Yes, it’s a long haul, especially when the suburbs have been built out and now have the shopping & entertainment options they didn’t have in the 60s and 70s. It’ll take some years for this to be done but with UCONN moving BACK to Hartford and the upcoming downtown apartment buildings that are to be built in the next few years downtown will get to or near the critical # of residents it needs to support more small local businesses, like coffee shops, restaurants, small everyday grocery store(not like the upscale Market at Hartford21 that closed), etc.

    Sorry, it just bugs me when my fellow suburbanites, go off and bitch about everything and anything positive that can or may possibly happen. Hopefully this doesn’t anger too many people. Thanks :)

    1. mc

      I am not a suburbanite. I am a resident of a real city. NYC. I believed in Hartford for the last 30 years. I have been to hundreds of Whalers games at the Mall. I was drinking at the Russian Lady when I was 16. Concerts at the Meadows. I saw Maplethorp, Dali and many more at the Wadsworth. Shoot, my first concert was INXS at the Civic Center way back in 1988. At the rate that Hartford is improving, it will never be a great city again. It is over. Name a good sized company that has actually moved downtown recently. No school or science center can fix Hartford. You need companies. The only companies Hartford has are boring insurance jobs that send boring people to the boring suburbs. The schools are almost beyond repair. No sane educated person with a family would live downtown. Sorry. Truth hurts.

      1. mike

        Your experience of hartford is 30 years old. and I’m afraid out of date.
        The schools are improving considerably thanks to CREC.

        As far as companies moving downtown, CareCentrix just moved downtown, but I wont hold that up as a huge win. That being said, perform the same company test on every city our size in the country and you will have simular results.

        and as a correction, you are dead wrong about that assessment. Hartford has more downtown workers than any of its peer cities. What it has lacked for 30 years that led to its decline was a cohesive urban fabric including residents.

        with all of the housing currently planned and approved, a great deal of that vibrancy will return. This Uconn move will add even more life. All we will need next is some of the surface parking lots to be redeveloped healing the scars caused by failed office development from the early 90’s

        Hartford should never want to be like NYC. Hartford needs to be its own city and it is working towards this goal on many fronts right now. The political climate is lined up and the corporate and cultural institutions are working together.

        Within 5 years Downtown will be vastly different and better than it is today and I like it today! (I moved here from NY 7 years ago BTW)

  8. Former Hartford Resident

    Why don’t you hang in front of the old G.Fox building and see and listen to the low lifes who stand there and wait for the bus and make comments at every women who walks by and say what an ass she has. The bad part is these girls are 12 – 16. Another waste of tax payers money.

  9. Lew

    I went to Uconn Hartford campus in West Hartford 30 years ago. Back then, we called it Husky High School. I did my time and then went to Storrs, where I graduated and met my now wife of 28 years.

    There is NO WAY I would let my kids go to UConn in downtown Hartford. And I am not a stupid suburbanite. I am the President of a company, and I spend a lot of time in cities around the country. So, I am not anti-city, but I am anti-Hartford as it is now.

    Downtown is simply not safe. I have many friends who work there, and they tell me that all the time. They get in, work and get out as fast as they can.

    This has been Hartford’s story since I was a kid: nobody lives downtown, it is a bedroom community. Sure, there are a few apartments, but basically, people live in the suburbs and commute to work, and get out before dark.

    I would send my kid to the Bronx Community College before I sent them to Uconn Hartford. As a proud Uconn alum, that’s a sad statement to make.

    Note I am not talking racism, I am talking safety. I don’t care about color one bit, but if it’s not safe, my kids aren’t going there.

    Personally, I am sure West Hartford is salivating at the thought of 100 new taxpayer homes occupying the now state-owned land. That would be great development for my home town, and would benefit me more than if they stayed. This is a really really foolish move on UConn’s part. They should spend the money to update the West Hartford campus, where they have a ton of land and parking.

    1. mike

      You base your opinion on statements made by your friends, but do they know downtown?

      I’ll admit its not as vibrant as Harvard Square in Cambridge or Fisherman’s Warf in San Francisco, but for the North East and midwest its not too shabby compared to its peers. More over it has improved greatly in the last 5-10 years. Downtown also has more potential than many of its peer cities partially due to all of the issues the city had starting in the early 90’s

      In order for your friends to change their perception of downtown a few things need to change.
      1: the state and region need to open their eyes to the current state and endeavor to forget the 1990s
      2: projects like this one need to happen. 3100 students and 300 faculty puts an additional 3400 eyes on the streets during non business hours. those 3400 sets of eyes are a better crime deterrent than 1000 police officers.
      3: Housing. Nobody lives downtown because all of the built and unbuilt office projects from the 80’s and early 90’s demolished all of it. in the last 10 years, 2000 units were built and 1000 are proposed right now on top of that. those eyes on the street will not only continue to change the way your friends see the city but they will also add vibrancy.

      success is a combined effort. Without UConn in Storrs, what would that be like? If they built that campus in the North end, what would that be like?

      lets bring in these 1000 apartments and lets bring in these 3400 Uconn People and then lets see if you would dare send your precious kids downtown.

      better yet, lets see if you can keep your kids from wanting to live downtown.

    2. Last Man Standing

      What bothers me most about these posts is the myth that Downtown is not safe. I’ve lived Downtown for 10 year…. I walk every day…sure I am street smart (AKA just smart), but c’mon let’s stop perpetuating the myth… the most unsafe thing about Downtown is the white jay walkers from the burbs causing near accidents every day.

  10. Former Hartford Worker

    Lew, Downtown Hartford is not unsafe in the least. Sure bad things happen there from time to time, just like they happen everywhere from time to time. I worked for a non-profit for a couple of years, working both at a school where they ran a program and in a soup kitchen near the old G.Fox. I walked from the school near the South Church to the soup kitchen all the time, and not once did I ever feel unsafe. Before commenting on how “dangerous” Downtown is, spend some time there.

    1. mc

      Downtown Hartford is dangerous. More dangerous than most downtowns in the country. My brother-in-law went to Trinity and told me lots of stories. Once he was eating in a restaurant downtown when he noticed a fire outside. The fire was his car which had been torched… in broad daylight. Downtown. I personally have never had a problem, but I have felt uncomfortable numerous times. It is especially dangerous for out of towners because the city is so small, you could easily find yourself in a bad neighborhood by accident.

      1. mike

        I dont buy that for a minute!

        downtown is small, but has OBVIOUS borders. any visitor with 1/10 of a brain can see the parking fields North of Downtown as a border, I-84/train tracks on the West, Bushnell Park to the SW.
        the biggest gray areas is south on main, but if you walk it, it becomes pretty clear as you walk south and there is a pedestrian unfriendly stretch at the MDC building.

        that said, West of the train station is a fine place to walk. Also South of the MDC is a fine place to walk (and live) Where the buildings stop just before Park Street, it becomes clear that you might want to change direction.

  11. mc

    I live in Manhattan near the Pace University campus. Pretty much a big ugly building. Every time I walk by I think what an ugly campus. Who would go to school there? How can there be any school pride? Where do students come from to go to such an ugly school? The other thing I notice is how little the impact is on the neighborhood. A school that size should have some feet on the streets. Maybe some really good college food restaurants. Maybe some bars. Nothing! Just this building. You know why? Just like a mall, the kids take the subway, go into the building and don’t come out until they are done with their classes. Then they appear to disappear. Probably to their dorms or their homes or something but they are not improving the neighborhood. I fear this is what will happen to a large building campus in Hartford. You need a campus of sorts with some store fronts that can become a hang out or meeting area. Otherwise they will be like the other people that come to Hartford. Just a blur as the go from their buildings to their highways inside the safety of their vehicles. Hartford is a dump and this building will become a fortress. Another white elephant. Spend the extra money now and do it right. Find a real campus.

    1. mike

      You had a valid point till the end.

      design is critical to create interactions with the city. When this was first annouced much was made of the way it will need to interact. They mentioned the other urban campuses and their successes so they are templates.

      We will see how it is executed, but with 13 bids, we can hope the city/state/Univ will make the best choices for all parties.

      1. Patrick

        Exactly Mike. Also, it will take time and work on the university and city’s parts to get UCONN students to move outside their building(s) and explore the city. It won’t happen overnight.

        It took a solid 5 years to get students to explore Stamford, when the exact same scenario happened and they moved UCONN Stamford downtown. To quote Sandy Goldstein, president of the Stamford Downtown Special District. “It took a good five years. But the result, more than a decade after the move, has been worth it. It’s added a wonderful energy downtown. The best thing, don’t put a cafeteria inside, it will encourage them to go outside.”

  12. Don

    I moved here 13 years ago after growing up in Los Angeles, CA and living for a while in Atlanta , Ny, Raliegh, NC and Nashville, TN. I’m always surprised by the lack of understanding and narrow world view of our educated suburanites. Great cities have ups and downs. Hartford is a great city and its on the upswing. It has a new Saftey Center downtown and many other exciting plans moving ahead even in this poor economy. UCONN downtown is just what Hartford needs. Young people with open minds, daring, and energy to move Hartford into the modern era. Sorry Lew, your thinking is obsolete, You represent the past, and the future is far brighter than you can imagine.

  13. Dave

    I went to UConn West Hartford. We spent a ton of time downtown because that’s where the cool stuff was. Moving the school downtown will provide a richer cultural experience for the students.

    I love these idiots who do not understand that the suburbs wouldn’t exist without a city at the center. Small minded and ignorant doesn’t begin to cover it.

  14. Ann Williams

    The University of Saint Joseph located its new School of Pharmacy downtown in the XL Center and it is clearly thriving and successful. With the arrival of the large UCONN student body, perhaps more eating establishments will open and succeed, the police presence will increase, and the criminal/nuisance element will find a quieter spot to hang out. Safety in the building and garage should be great: isn’t UCONN’s security force armed? I’m not sure how many students will be hanging out at night though. Students from the suburbs would have the option of taking a bus there and back during the day if they don’t want to leave their car there. Is Hartford a more dangerous place to go? Well, I think looking at crime rates and car insurance rates would provide an inarguable yes. But the students are more dangerous drivers than the faculty and that doesn’t stop them from driving!

  15. Rising Star

    The University of CT is a school with a vibrant population of young, talented and ambitious students…who by the way are nothing like the people who are posting here. How do I know? I’ve taken courses in West Hartford and Storrs and am a graduate of the school. I worked in downtown Hartford all the while. There will be those who will “huddle up” and never explore their surroundings, that’s part of every culture. However, there will be those who have believe they have a stake in the state, their school and the city and become part of it, pulling in their colleagues, friends and partners in their social circle. I know they’ll leave a lasting impact and deep, rich cultural history and an indelible UConn mark on the city. It’s been done before and it will be done again. I’m not endorsing anyone here, but the Mayor of Hartford has improved the office and cooperative efforts vastly and the Police department, businesses and housing are all necessary parts of the puzzle that will welcome these students and hopefully not improve the economy of the City but the cultural outlook required to bring it to the level of greatness it should be at. I once heard it said…”where there is no vision, the people perish”. Just sayin’…………..

  16. Rob

    It is amazing the stupidity, ignorancy, bigotry in this great liberal state of CT. We should as a community want the city of Hartford to succeed. I worked downtown for years and didnt pay for parking or get mugged. I loved the life of the city (only in the daytime of course but hopefully that will change) and the restaurants and theaters that I still go to. With more housing, a GREAT downtown movie theater, what makes you middle-aged bigoted morons think that the young students wouldnt rather be in Hartford then in West Hartford?

  17. Rob

    Decades of eating in downtown Hartford and I’ve never witnessed a crime or a burning car. Lew, I don’t care if you are the president of a company, you are still ignorant, and many of us executive Hartford or former Hartford employees stay downtown after work for theater and dinner, fundraisers and such. Thank God for the great civic and arts-minded population that we do have in Greater Hartford. Young people might become better educated with less narrow-mindedness when they are exposed to an urban setting, even if it is just Hartford.

  18. Pingback: Main Street Corner Proposed for UConn Campus Relocation | Real Estate

  19. Nancy Macy

    I remember well not so many years ago when plans were announced to move Capitol Community College from the corner of Woodland and Aslyum to the G. Fox building downtown. The students and faculty were in an uproar. Demonstrations were held. The move happened and the enrollment skyrocketed and everyone was happy.

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