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South Campus to rise
Groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday
By Richard Veilleux
May 2, 1997
Students and University officials will embark on a bold new future at 10 a.m. Wednesday when ground is broken on a four-building residence hall complex to replace the old South Campus dormitories - last used to highlight the need for UConn 2000.
Replete with computer jacks and Internet access for every resident, the 668-bed complex will be one of the most modern dormitories in the nation. In addition to three Gothic-style brick residence halls, the complex also offers students - and the UConn community - access to a 700-seat dining hall set up in a food court arrangement, and a 700-seat banquet/conference facility.
The main building also will boast a fully staffed computer lab with 20 high-speed PCs, a cafe, recreation room, fitness center, study alcoves and several small areas where students can meet with professors.
The three residence halls, nestled along the hillside across from Mirror Lake, will vary slightly in size, but the predominant room style in each is the four-person suite. Each 630-square-foot suite will consist of two two-bedroom units connected by a large living area. Doubles in the old South Campus were 151 square feet. The typical room in UConn's other 66 dormitories average between 150 and 180 square feet.
"No question, these will be some of the finest residence halls in the country," said Carmen Vance, UConn's associate vice president for student affairs and services and director of the Department of Residential Life. "There's been a huge change in the market, in what students want and expect in campus housing, and we are meeting that need."
The newest dormitories currently on campus are the Hilltop Dorms, two eight-story towers rising above Centennial Alumni House. They were built in 1971, and house 344 students each.
The seven buildings that comprised the old South Campus housed 1,422 students. Overall, more than 6,000 of UConn's 11,336 undergraduates live on campus.
The new dormitories, which offer 76 single rooms as well as several doubles, initially will be reserved for upperclassmen. To that end, a raffle will be held during the groundbreaking ceremony for all current UConn freshmen and sophomores. Five students whose names are drawn during the event will be guaranteed a room in the complex for their junior and senior years at the University.
Also on hand at the groundbreaking site, at the corner of Mansfield and Gilbert roads, will be several residents of the old South Campus, which was built in 1951, including Lewis B. Rome, chair of UConn's Board of Trustees.