UConn, Hartford and the Hartford Public Library signed a multi-million dollar agreement to share the Hartford Public Library’s building on Thursday.
“There could hardly be a more natural partner than Hartford Public Library,” said University Spokesperson Stephanie Reitz. “When you consider the incredible wealth of programs, exhibits, and resources the library has at its disposal, it is easy to see why we knew the UConn community would want to be a part of it.”
Under the agreement, the university plans to renovate 16,350 square feet of the Hartford Public Library’s building, 12,000 feet of which are for exclusive use by the university. The cost of the project is estimated to be between $2.65 million and $4 million. The partnership has an initial fifteen-year operating agreement.
“Construction for the UConn library housed in the Hartford Public Library is expected to begin this summer,” said Donna Larcen, communications specialist for the Hartford Public Library.
The resolution, approved by the Board of Trustees, gives a target deadline of early summer 2017 for the construction.
According to the resolution, the university exclusive space will include three 49-seat classrooms, a digital media center, tutoring services, study lounges and a circulation desk.
The new space in the town library is considered an addition of the new Hartford campus location currently under construction. This partnership is considered necessary as the new campus building, attached to the old Hartford Times Building façade, will only house approximately 70% of the needs of the regional campus according to the resolution.
The cohabitation of the city’s library is part of the “neighborhood concept” guiding the construction of UConn’s new Hartford branch, according to the press release.
“We knew our students, faculty and staff would want to take part in the educational, cultural, and economic resources available in the city,” Reitz said. “From that recognition came the idea of partnering with some of those institutions.”
The dispersion of the campus throughout several buildings is aimed to “encourage a dynamic urban learning environment,” as well as create “steady foot traffic and activity.”
“With this partnership, our students will be a part of the Hartford community in a direct and vital way,” Reitz said.
Sarah McNeal is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.