STEM dorm, South Campus construction highlight busy summer


Scaffolding is seen outside of a South Campus residence hall on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

Scaffolding is seen outside of a South Campus residence hall on Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

As thousands of students arrive on UConn’s Storrs campus this weekend, newly paved roads, an almost-complete STEM dorm and scaffolding surrounding almost all of South campus will greet them after a nearly four month hiatus.

With only a small percentage of students left on campus during the summer months, construction swings into full gear in Storrs each summer and this year – with Next Generation projects getting underway in addition to routine updates to aging buildings and infrastructure – was an especially busy one.

The new STEM dorm in the Hilltop residence area is scheduled to be open for move-in weekend 2016. Executive Director of First Year Programs and Learning Communities, David Ouimette, is excited for the project to be complete.

“There will be great spaces for learning [in these buildings],” Ouimette said, “We are all looking forward to the opening next school year.”

UConn student and Garrigus resident Karim Abdel Jalil, who has been living beside the construction, will also be happy to see it finish.

“All of the main stairways and paths to Garrigus are cut off,” Abdel said. “I really hope they figure this out before the school year or it will take 20 minutes to get to buildings that I can see from my room.”

Although construction can be disruptive to both students living on campus and those trying to navigate between classes, with a campus the size of UConn, construction is ever present.

“A campus our size always has some kind of construction going on, be it a new building or the repair and renovation of existing structures,” UConn spokesperson Stephanie Reitz said.

Renovations and repairs have been a large part of the work done in Storrs this summer. Many of the roads and pathways on campus have been repaved and the older buildings have had new carpeting and lights installed, said Michael Jednak, associate vice president of Facilities Operations and Building Services.

“Many of the old agricultural buildings such as Jones and White, have been repainted and have new carpets,” Jednak said. “We will continue to refurbish Manchester, Beach, Coons and other older buildings this fall.” 

In South Campus the building envelope project on the 16- and 17-year old suite-style dormitories is underway and will continue throughout the year, Jednak said. The complex has suffered from severe leaks and therefore the limestone accents are currently being replaced and next summer the roofs will all be redone.

“There will be a minimal amount of work on South Campus most of the year,” Jednak said. “The work that has been done already will minimize students’ issues with leaks before the roofs are replaced.”

The scaffolding, at least on Wilson Hall, will remain up all year. 

“It’s exciting to watch this progress, and the University appreciates our students’ patience and support,” Reitz said.

Julia Werth is news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at She tweets @jboelwerth.

Jon Hull is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at

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