The Academic Affairs Committee of UConn’s Board of Trustees is meeting today and will be discussing a proposal to close the Torrington campus, and will also vote on selling the land and buildings on the West Hartford campus, which will relocate to downtown Hartford.
The West Hartford campus is moving to Hartford in Fall 2017 and UConn is negotiating with potential buyers, including Weiming Educational Group, a private buyer offering more than $12 million to turn the 58-acre property into international high school.
The town of West Hartford also has the right to match that amount and buy the property for the town.
UConn plans to move to the former Hartford Times Building and is looking for upgrade part of the Hartford Public Library and share space there for the university’s library and collections.
The committee will also watch a presentation on the plan to close the Torrington campus, but they will not make a decision.
Eighty-eight full-time students attend the Torrington campus and the proposal to close the school is in response to the state plans to cuts millions of dollars from the university's budget.
Torrington residents argue that’s because UConn has transferred classes and professors to other campuses and Torrington mayor Elinor Carbone met with UConn and asked the university to keep an open line of communication.
“We feel that the university has systematically reduced resources to the campus. This is a course of action that appears to be designed to set the stage for the failure of the campus since its earlier attempt 1983 to close it,” she said.
Residents say the closing the campus will have a ripple effect on business in the northwest corner of the state and they feel more options should be explored to partner with other entities to keep it open.
However, UConn officials argue that they have tried through advertising to increase enrollment and it’s been unsuccessful.
“Waterbury is a half an hour away and we believe that we can make the transition a smooth one for our students and do what is in the best interest of our students,” Sally Reis, vice provost for academic affairs, said.
The board will not make a final decision on closing the Torrington campus until its next meeting on April 27. If approved, the campus would close in May after final exams.