UConn-Hartford campus officially opens downtown

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HARTFORD – It’s official: The Huskies are back in Hartford.

The University of Connecticut held a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday morning at the new UConn Hartford campus. After years of planning, the university moved its facilities from West Hartford to the capital city.

Gov. Dannel Malloy, UConn President Susan Herbst, Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy and U.S. Rep. John Larson were among those to speak during the ceremony. Many of them noted that this opening will bring positive change to the city of Hartford and the state as a whole.

“This is a historic day. Let’s make it the beginning of a historic period where we bring our state and our city back,” said Mayor Bronin.

A large crowd gathered outside of the main campus building, formerly the building that housed the Hartford Times. That space is now home to classrooms, offices and labs.

Some in that crowd were incoming students who were eager to see inside the building for the first time.

“I’m just excited to see what the school actually is because we haven’t gotten to see it yet,” said UConn Hartford student Shane Gorneault.

Classes begin Monday at the former Hartford Times building, as well as other UConn buildings within walking distance like the Uconn School of Social Work and the Hartford Public Library.

UConn's Barnes & Noble Bookstore and a new full-service Starbucks is on the corner of Prospect and Front streets. Students will also have use of a free hourly bus service to and from the Storrs campus.

“It seems amazing. I can’t wait to start on Monday,” said incoming sophomore Ryan Debedin, who spent his freshman year at the campus in West Hartford.

He said, “I’m happy we moved to downtown Hartford. It’s just a great place. It’s full of people, energy is great. It’s definitely an upgrade.”