New UConn campus opens in Hartford

The historic Hartford Times Building has become part of the UConn Hartford campus. (WFSB photo)

The Huskies are at home in Hartford.

The grand opening ceremony for the University of Connecticut's downtown campus was held on Wednesday, where $140 million was poured into upgrading the building and surrounding facilities.

Both city and school officials called it an exciting and momentous day in Hartford.

“UConn Hartford is not only brick, mortar, and steel. It is a living, breathing institution at the core of this city,” UConn President Susan Herbst said Wednesday at the event. “It will be part of the backbone of Hartford: a place of learning, engagement, and discovery, and a vibrant part of this neighborhood and the capital city as a whole.

When drivers get off the highway, they can see a UConn Hartford sign shining brightly, welcoming the Huskies to the capital city.

“The investment we have made in UConn’s new downtown campus is an investment in higher education, in our Capital City, and in our state’s economy,” Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said. “Importantly, we are connecting students with all the city has to offer – museums, shops, restaurants, night life and sports venues– showing the next generation of young professionals how vibrant Hartford is becoming.”

The UConn Hartford campus, which relocated from West Hartford consists, of the renovated and expanded historic former Hartford Times building on Prospect Street.

There are additional classroom and office space just down the street and shared space in the Hartford Public Library.

"I think the story about our city is that we are finally seeing the beginnings of that revitalization that we've sought for so long in this city and in this state and that's why it's so important that we fix that fiscal crisis so we can build all this on a strong foundation," said Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.

This fall, more than 3,300 students are enrolled in classes. The campus will also be home to more than 200 full and part-time faculty and staff.

"This whole development is very young as well so we're just looking towards the youth of the future, trying to revitalize the area and I mean UCONN is just another step in what's going to happen down here," said Shelby Thomas, of Bear's Smokehouse BBQ.

It's a new vibrant community that students can't wait to be a part of.

"What they're doing around Hartford is just amazing and I want to be around it," said Christian Tolman, a UConn student.

Classes start on Monday.

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