Spring 2011

Renovations bring new life to three College buildings

By Nancy Weiss

“It’s been a long time coming,” says Associate Dean Cameron Faustman in discussing the ongoing extensive renovation of the Ratcliffe Hicks Arena, the Young Building and the Floriculture Greenhouse. 

For Faustman, a graduate of the College, the chance to work on upgrading, improving and making more attractive a number of the fundamental architectural components of the College is a challenge he relishes. 

Renovation of the Ratcliffe Hicks Arena, the site of countless animal shows and competitions as well as the Horticulture Show, will be completed in spring 2011.  The improvements include updated fire sprinklers, a poured concrete floor, new paint and brighter lighting.  Of the $900,000 project, Faustman says, “Not only will the renovation meet fire and safety requirements, but it will allow for greater flexibility for College and University-wide events.” 

With $15 million allocated for renovation of the Young Building, some big changes are in the works. Construction, once scheduled to begin in 2015, has now been moved up to begin in the spring of 2012.     

The Young Building’s foyer will be altered to create a welcoming common area for use by students and visitors. Upgrades to meet building code requirements will bring the aging building squarely into the 21st century and improve antiquated or non-existent heating and cooling systems. New windows will improve the appearance of the building and boost energy efficiency. Restrooms will be completely renovated and a new facility will be added to the third floor.

Faustman is pleased the Young Building will be LEED  certified certified at the silver level, which means it will be a green building in terms of energy use and environmental impact.   

Professor and Extension Specialist for Greenhouse Crops Richard McAvoy is chairing the committee to oversee the renovation of the Floriculture Greenhouse. 

The Floriculture Greenhouse, a landmark in need of renovation at the entrance to UConn’s Storrs Campus, once was slated to be torn down. Because of budget constraints it will instead be extensively renovated at a cost of $5 million.   

The biggest change in the building will be the addition of a 40-person classroom.  A new entrance and lobby as well as code upgrades will improve the structure, which was constructed in the early 1950s. 

McAvoy notes that one of the six current greenhouses, called zero house, will be replaced with a state-of-the-art structure that will include eight separate computer-controlled climate zones and improved teaching space.

A new floral arts studio, technology upgrades in the classrooms and Wi-Fi capability will further enhance the facility. The renovated space will be bright and  attractive with more opportunities for hands-on projects. 

According to McAvoy, work on the Floriculture Greenhouse will begin in the spring of 2011 and is scheduled to be finished in the  summer of 2012.
“The biggest impact of the renovation is that it will increase our research capabilities and greatly improve the learning environment,” says McAvoy.