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Trustees OK shift of funds
to boost student-friendly campus
June 21, 1999
University officials have been given the go-ahead to reallocate about $34 million in funding for Phase II of UConn 2000 into three projects that will allow the University to continue its efforts to respond to student needs.
The reallocation reaffirms the administration's desire to create a student-oriented campus. The shifts in funding will enhance three key proj-ects: expanding the planned renovations of, and additions to, the Student Union; increasing the scope of plans to convert the current School of Business Administration building into a student and faculty learning center; and converting the Wilbur Cross Building into a service center, where students will be able to conduct all business matters, from registering for classes to applying for financial aid to ordering phone and cable television service for their room or apartment.
Another $7.4 million was reallocated to enhance renovation projects planned for the Monteith and Arjona buildings, and $4.4 million will be transferred to a renovation project for the Gentry Building.
The Board of Trustees approved both the reallocations and a capital budget request of $130 million for the 1999-2000 fiscal year, during a telephone meeting June 14.
Officials are expected to sell bonds worth $580 million during Phase II of UConn 2000, encompassing six years.
Other changes and additions to the University's building plans will include a Greek village that will become home for University-based fraternities and sororities; a new residence hall to be located near Hilltop residence halls; and the probability of selling University-backed special obligation bonds to finance construction of a second parking garage near Gampel Pavilion.
Special obligation bonds are repaid primarily through rental and boarding fees collected from tenants or user fees collected from people who park in the new garage. Bonds purchased under the auspices of the UConn 2000 program are repaid by the state.
Dale Dreyfuss, vice chancellor for business and administration, told the trustees that financing is already in place for a new dining hall in Northwest, to be built on a site currently occupied by a dormitory, allowing crews to remove the small dining areas currently in each of the residence halls that comprise the complex.
"Our experiences with South Campus are so profoundly positive that what would have been a normal renovation of Northwest has been revisited, we've gone back to the boards, and decided to bring it closer" to the quality of South Campus, Dreyfuss said.
The board approved a proposal to enhance the Phase II projects by reallocating $20 million of the $70 million originally planned to complete the technology quad; reducing the $150 million allocation for equipment, library collections and telecommunications by $14 million; delaying construction of a new library at the Avery Point campus to save $5 million; removing nearly $7.5 million from funding earmarked for renovations to the Depot Campus; and scaling back a number of other projects.
The student-oriented buildings that will benefit from the reallocations are designed to continue the University's efforts to foster a sense of community and to build a community of learners, said Susan Steele, vice provost for undergraduate education and instruction, and Vicky Triponey, vice chancellor for student affairs.
Calling the expanded Student Union the University's "living room," Triponey said the new facility must be made into a "vital place where students will come. And not just students, either, but if you want faculty and staff to interact with students, there has to be a central campus facility that is inviting."
The new building will feature mostly multi-use space, including casual and formal meeting rooms, a theater, large event spaces, a food court and retail space, student mailboxes, and similarly sized spaces for six multicultural centers. The planned addition to the building would nearly double the available space.
Most of the space in the Wilbur Cross Building also will be shared, with service areas for the registrar, bursar, residential life, financial aid and scholarships in the main area, and offices for those units on the next two floors. The dean of students, dining services, Center for Students With Disabilities and student affairs offices also will be located in the building, along with reading and conference rooms, a cafe and computerized self-help stations.
The sense of community, in a more academic vein, also will be carried into the Center for Undergraduate Education, to be located in what is now the School of Business Administration. Once refurbished, Steele said, the center will consolidate academic service departments from a variety of buildings into one location, including offices for student advising and mentoring, career services, the Honors Program, and the Institute for Teaching and Learning. The Center for Instructional Media and Technology will bring its audio and video capabilities closer to the campus core, which also will free space in the Gentry Building, where UCIMT is currently located, for the School of Education to expand its programming.