Trinity College prepping to open campus in downtown Hartford

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HARTFORD —  Trinity College announced that they are preparing to open at downtown campus at Constitution Plaza.

Trinity said the campus will be built at 10 Constitution Plaza and plans to open in December 2017, the first of its two Constitution Plaza spaces.

“In doing so, Trinity will join a growing presence of higher education institutions with students, faculty, and staff who have become part of the central business district community, helping Hartford evolve into a true college town,” the college said in a statement issued Friday.

Trinity’s Constitution Plaza Planning Committee, a multi-constituency group co-chaired by Sue Aber, vice president, has been working since fall 2016 to guide the design process.

The new space will be highlighted by a  Liberal Arts Action Lab (LAAL), a place where students and faculty can work together to focus on problems in the city and region. Also,  there will a “makerspace,” a workshop where people have the chance to collaborate on projects using digital technology.

Trinity College Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tim Cresswell, said “at the outset, there will be 10 Trinity students and 10 Capital Community College students, broken up into groups of the appropriate size for the specific problems to be addressed. The students will receive academic credit, and it’s possible they’ll work within themes – for example, we might look at the social determinants of health in the city.”

“People often make the mistake of drawing strict boundaries between liberal arts education and applied knowledge,” said Cresswell. “The classical origin of liberal arts education in ancient Athens as education for free people of the city – or citizens – was always about the skills needed to operate as citizens. In ancient Greece, it may have been to prepare individuals to serve in the military or on a jury,” said Creswell.

He added “it means working on sticky real-world problems, such as persistent inequality or climate change. The Liberal Arts Action Lab will help Trinity to lead the way in reconnecting liberal arts to real-world problems, both inside and outside of the classroom.”

Space at 10 Constitution Plaza also will serve as a base for Trinity students engaged in internships downtown and may be used during the orientation program for J-Starts, a new cohort of incoming first-year students who will begin their Trinity studies in January.