Master Plan to bring renovations to Depot Campus

In this photo, the University of Connecticut Depot Campus is pictured. Many of the campus' buildings have sat vacant and unused for years, but are expected to be renovated under the Master Plan, according to plans on the UConn website. (Ashley Maher/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut’s Depot Campus, of which many buildings have sat vacant and unused for years, is expected to be renovated with the Master Plan, according to plans on the UConn website.

Town hall meetings held by Master Plan officials showed UConn’s intentions for the unused buildings on the property, many of which have been vacant since before the university acquired the land, according to Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Michael Makuch.

“Many of the buildings are not up to code and would take lots of money on renovations,” Makuch said.

Most of the fire safety, lighting and plumbing systems need to be modernized for the buildings to be usable, he said.

Some of the buildings, particularly those that once made up the Mansfield Training School, are protected by the National Register of Historic Places, and are unable to be torn down. The site was awarded its historic designation by the state in 1987.

The 435 acres of Depot Campus currently hold the Center for Clean Energy, Center for Energy Innovation, the Center for Learning in Retirement, the university human resources office, a power plant and the Ballard Institute and Museum of Puppetry, according to UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz.

According to the Master Plan, almost half of the 57 buildings on Depot Campus are vacant or used for storage.

Reitz said the Master Plan envisions working with private industry partners to renovate the buildings.

Some plans for Depot Campus brought up in Master Plan presentations include creating a climate-controlled archive to free up space in the Homer Babbidge library, “allowing for its transformation into a collaborative, social and knowledge hub.”

Master Plan documents also said the area could be used to expand residential space for faculty, staff and graduate students.

As Depot Campus is developed, Master Plan organizers will attempt to strike a balance between preserving the historic aspect of the campus, restoring and repurposing certain buildings and sustainability through proper land management of the property.


Nicholas Shigo is associate news editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at nicholas.shigo@uconn.edu.