by Nicholas Leahey
The building boom at Central Connecticut shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. First it was a new academic building, then residence hall, then dining hall — now, it’s a new Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) building, projected to open in 2019 where the library lot currently exists.
The new building project, originally labeled as the Burritt Library Addition and Expansion project, was recently refocused, and is now planned to house numerous new science laboratories, smart classrooms, engineering laboratories, offices and much more. In a press release issued by CCSU in late September, the goal of the project is to, “strengthen, expand and showcase the university’s commitment to STEM education and technology-based interdisciplinary collaboration.”
According to CCSU’s Facilities Management website, the project is expected to cost $108 million dollars.
“Being an engineer, I think it is an exciting project for the campus,” said James Grupp, Coordinator of Capital Projects and Facilities Planning.
The 100,000 square-foot project will be championed by Hartford-based Amenta Emma Architects, whose extensive portfolio most notably includes a new visual performing arts center which opened last year at Western Connecticut State University, a new technology building at Naugatuck Valley Community College as well as a new main campus building set to be constructed at Housatonic Community College in the coming years. In addition, they will also be in charge of hiring consultants, who will deal with various mechanical, plumbing and other technical aspects for planning and construction the building.
While known statewide, the architectural firm has done little at CCSU, only replacing the windows in both Kaiser and Welte Halls.
The new STEM building, which possesses a $44 million construction budget, is still be planned to be connected to the library.
To replace those and others which may be lost from other planned projects, a new parking garage is planned for construction along Paul Manafort Drive within the next few years, according to Grupp.
“Replacing those parking spots is a high priority for us,” said Grupp in regards to the loss of the roughly 130 parking spots.
The new STEM building project is a part of the larger Connecticut State University System (CSUS) 2020 plan, which is a comprehensive, long-term capital infrastructure investment plan launched by former Governor M Jodi Rell in 2007. As a result, the project will receive state funding in accordance with the investment plan. Other projects on campus which have also been funded by the plan include the Social Sciences Hall, the CCSU Police Station and the library renovations for the first floor.
In relation to the project, Copernicus Hall, which currently serves as the home for STEM-oriented programs, will see new renovations financed by the CSUS 2020 project, but only with the excess leftover from the planned CSUS 2020 projects.
“They’re just crossing the ‘t’s’ and dotting the ‘i’s’, sorting out all the legal matters,” said Grupp, adding that the project is still in the early stages and has no official rendering yet to his knowledge.