Connecticut Commons demolition requires appropriate dorm rollout

As part of the expansive, nearly 20-year Master Plan 2014, the university is creating a new recreation center at the site of Connecticut Commons in the center of campus, some of UConn’s oldest dorms. UConn proposes to add “five full-size basketball courts, a running track, an aquatics center; including a 50-meter swimming pool, a wellness center, squash and racquetball courts, space for club sports and other flexible spaces.”

Considering the disarray the current gym stands in and general lack of sufficient space and facilities, this will be a much-appreciated addition to the campus. 

Some are concerned about the demolition, fearing the honors upperclassmen that often relied on the CTC dorms will have less available residence. The advent of the new STEM learning community dorms for 2016 or 2017 is meant to offset the absence of CTC. The dorms will accommodate 727 STEM students, whereas CTC currently holds up to 500 students. Additionally, in keeping with the master plan, dorms will be erected where Y Lot currently is, potentially with an emphasis on honors students. 

However, there are a couple incongruences it appears the administration has not yet sorted out, the main issue being: Is there enough room for everything? 

Building the STEM learning community is probably meant to coincide with the removal of CTC, as they both occur in approximately 2017. Yet the emphasis is on STEM, so will UConn allow non-STEM students to live there in the interim? 

A quandary pertaining directly to this is the degree to which new people will be coming to Storrs campus without accommodating changes happening quickly enough, presumably to supplement the massive cost of expansion. Currently, there are 3,800 new students at the Storrs campus, 1,100 new transfers and 535 enrolled freshmen in the honors program. Last year, there were 3,600 new students, 800 transfers and 505 in honors. This upward trend will likely continue until construction is complete, assiduously disrupting the current housing situation.

Construction takes copious amounts of time, and there’s no indication of work starting for the proposed Y Lot dorms. Something else worth noting is the need for more parking in the wake of Y Lot’s reinvention, especially because there is so little convenient parking as is.

Some students will inevitably live off-campus, but there has to be adequate on-campus space for the students that do seek to remain. And with any construction plan, execution is crucial, as the university cannot afford to accept more students and run into construction delays