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Austin against campus move
(February 21, 1997)
The plan to relocate UConn's West Hartford campus to downtown Hartford should be dropped, President Philip E. Austin said. Instead, UConn 2000 funds for the $42 million proposal should be spent on the Storrs campus, primarily to renovate and expand the Student Union.
"I find this to be the most sensible resolution to this issue, Austin told the Board of Trustees. "I don't think we ought to do the study" examining the costs of a possible move.
The campus, which includes the School of Social Work, is successful and there is no need to move it, Austin said.
The proposal had been opposed by Gov. John G. Rowland, who said it would be too costly.
Austin did not rule out an increased role for UConn in downtown Hartford. He suggested, perhaps, putting some administrative offices and classrooms downtown, or collaborating in a higher education center with other capital city-area institutions.
"The state research university has a critical role to play in the revitalization of the state's capital city," Austin said. "The University of Connecticut ought to have a significant presence."
The Student Union expansion is slated for the second phase of UConn 2000.
Student Trustee Kingsley Stewart, who was pushing for more UConn 2000 funds to benefit students, was ecstatic about the news.
"I am a happy camper right now," he said on the speakerphone, prompting laughs from the audience in Stamford.