- Associated Press - Thursday, October 16, 2014

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst on Thursday gave the school community a preview of the university’s new master plan, which she says will recreate the Storrs campus into unique districts and concentrate growth in areas where development already exists.

Herbst outlined highlights of the plan during her annual state of the school address. It will be presented in its entirety to the school’s Board of Trustees in December.

The idea of the plan is to create over two decades a more cohesive and aesthetically pleasing campus, where like buildings are located together and compliment the school’s academic mission.

For example, science buildings would be located in one section of campus, while student services and entertainment would be located in another.

“The master plan will put an end to decades of treating construction and renovation projects as stand-alone undertakings, done without considering a building’s place in the larger campus,” Herbst said.

The plan includes new residence halls, labs, classroom space, parking facilities and athletic venues for soccer, hockey baseball and softball.

It also includes closing Hillside and Gilbert Roads to most traffic to create new pedestrian walkways, and adding new roads to help traffic flow, Herbst said.

The plan is being devised as construction under the Next Generation Connecticut initiative and plans for the UConn Tech Park are expected to add 3.5 million gross square feet of space to the Storrs campus.

Many of the changes had already been announced, but some were new, such as a fitness path around Horsebarn Hill designed to give students, faculty and staff a safe place to run and exercise.

Other highlights include:

- The 4,500-seat hockey arena, which Herbst said is tentatively planned for the corner of Route 195 and South Eagleville Road

- A new student recreation center

- A new student Health Services building

- New residence halls for honors students and students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

- Two new science buildings, including both classroom and laboratory space, on the former parking lot known as X-Lot and along Whitney Road.

- A new building to house the Institute for Systems Genomics.

- A major renovation of the Gant Science Complex, and the razing of the Torrey Life Science building.

- The creation of “woodland corridors,” environmental areas designed to enhance the natural character of the campus

“We must ensure that the campus is built in a truly strategic way, with regard to our academic needs, housing, sustainability, way-finding, and architectural excellence,” Herbst said.


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