For more than a decade, the state has invested heavily in downtown Hartford -- hoping an influx of public money would inspire more private investment. Now, officials say a plan for a new UConn campus is the next step in that process.
Officials gathered on a grassy mall just next to city hall. Behind them stood the old Hartford Times building. Soon, it will be part of 217,000 square foot greater Hartford UConn campus -- home to more than 2,500 students, faculty and staff, and, according to UConn President Susan Herbst, it will be a facility "that will contribute tremendous new life to downtown Hartford when it opens in Fall '17."
The campus will abut the new Front Street district -- with restaurants, entertainment and apartments built in the shadow of the recently constructed Connecticut Convention Center and Connecticut Science Center. Most of that was done with state money -- and began back under former Gov. John Rowland. The point has long been to bring more feet to Hartford's streets.
This time time around, Gov. Dannel Malloy said UConn isn't just about being a school.
"[It's] not just about educating people, but about allowing the university to play the role in our state that other great public universities play in other states -- and that is to be an economic driver within the state," Malloy said.
The facility will cost $115 million to build. It will replace UConn's West Hartford campus, for which officials say there is no planned future use as of yet.