HARTFORD – It’s a new era for the University of Connecticut, opening its newest campus in Hartford.
After years of planning, UConn is moving its West Hartford campus to the capitol city in the former Hartford Times building.
Between undergraduate and graduate students, the campus will house more than 3,100 students and 300 staff members.
The university will hold a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration for the Hartford campus, Wednesday morning.
Classes will begin Monday and be held in the former Hartford Times building, as well as other neighboring UConn buildings in walking distance like the Uconn School of Social Work, and the Hartford Public Library.
Next to the main building is the UConn Barnes & Noble Bookstore and a full-service Starbucks.
The state is also welcoming the Huskies to Hartford adding a free hourly bus service to and from the Storrs campus.
Outgoing Director of UConn Hartford Campus Nina Heller said the downtown Hartford location allows for many opportunities for the UConn community and nearby businesses.
“We’re located right behind city hall, many of the nonprofit agencies, government agencies, schools and hospitals are here, and so we expect to be increasingly involved with all of these partners,” Heller said. “Our faculty can partner to do research, our students can do internships, and service learning, we want to really be very much part of the fabric of this city.”
Heller said one way the university will team up with neighboring businesses is creating “Husky Bucks,” for students to use at nearby restaurants.
“We’re very excited about bringing students, faculty and vitality to this part of the city,” she said.
Local businesses like Front Street Bistro are looking forward to an anticipated boost from the incoming students.
“We have been waiting for this for since they announced it, it's really going to bring a lot of energy to the street,” Front Street Bistro Executive Chef Lindsay Allen said.
Allen said the restaurant is making changes to cater to students, making the café brighter, adding study areas, upgrading Wi-Fi, and even adding quicker menu grab-and-go options.
“I think even some of the students may be apprehensive about coming to Hartford because traditionally it's not the place to go if you’re young,” he said. “But I think once they get here and they see what it's like they’re gonna be pleasantly surprised.”
The UConn ribbon cutting will take place at the Prospect Street campus, Wednesday Aug. 23, at 10:30 a.m.
UConn fall semester officially begins Monday, Aug. 28.
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