Monteith renovations move forward, set for August 2016 completion

In this photo, a sign is pictured in front of the Henry Ruthven Monteith Building in Storrs, Connecticut on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2015. The building renovation is in full swing, with an expected completion date of August 2016. (Rebecca Newman/The Daily Campus)

After much delay, the Henry Ruthven Monteith building renovation is in full swing with an expected completion date of August 2016.

The $25-million project includes the cost of building materials, architect's fees, furniture, fixtures and equipment, audio-visual, security and technology installations.

The renovations will add another 25 years of life to the building, according to the University of Connecticut spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. 

“We’ve received positive feedback from many people who’ve worked and studied in Monteith and are glad to hear that it will be modernized, particularly given its age and previous condition,” Reitz said.

Road closures and narrowing of Whitney road throughout the renovation project has caused some disruptions in traffic for pedestrians and vehicles alike. Reitz said 16 parking spaces are currently unavailable because of the construction.

Most of the spaces are Area One. Spots on Oak Lane have accommodated those displaced spaces. Four spaces are for people who have a handicap parking placard. UConn has been working directly with three handicapped individuals who usually park in those now inaccessible spots to find other options for them.

Most of these parking restrictions will end in early December. After that only two handicap spots will be inaccessible until the renovations conclude.

Reitz also said that none of the transit routes have been affected.

The Monteith building was originally built in conjunction with the Jaime Homero Arjona Building in 1959 in response to a boost in enrollment following World War II and the GI Bill. The two buildings were intended to be replaced by Laurel and Oak Hall, but due to the Next Generation Connecticut expansion, all four buildings will be in use for years to come.

Arjona was renovated first and was completed by Fall 2013. Some parts of Monteith were vacated in 2012 after the approval for renovations was given. The building was fully vacant by Spring 2014.

"Arjona does work and serves a good purpose for housing emergency lectures when certain rooms aren't working," Cody Helgesen, a fifth-semester psychology and human development and family studies major said. "With all the CLAS majors on campus, having some buildings with rooms still available works nicely."

UConn hopes to gain LEED Silver certification on the building. Laurel, Oak, Charles B. Gentry and the Burton-Shenkman Football Complex buildings are all LEED Silver certified.

After completion this coming summer, the Mathematics department will relocate to Monteith from the Edward V. Gant Science Complex.

Students sometimes criticize the university for the ceaseless construction on campus. Questions of tuition and the usefulness of renovations are often brought up.

Nicolle Anderson, a third-semester psychology and communication student, said that the existing renovations at Arjona were pointless because the lecture halls are too small and cramped.

Helgesen said he does not feel comfortable with how UConn uses the tuition of the students, and suggests that a lot of the renovations never directly aid the students at all.

“UConn is all about making the exterior look nice while the insides fall apart,” Helgesen said. “You walk inside these buildings and they are absolutely horrible. Lights don’t work, stains on the floor – it’s a waste. Construction happens where it doesn’t need to happen.”

Reitz said that despite disruptions, people do understand and recognize that the university is trying to minimize the inconvenience as much as possible.


Claire Galvin is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at claire.galvin@uconn.edu.