Legislative Update No. 7
REBUILDING, RENEWING AND ENHANCING
THE UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT
The SEVENTH in a series of reports to Governor John G. Rowland and the Connecticut General Assembly
Table of Contents
I. UCONN 2000: THE UPDATE
II. ACTIVITIES COMPLETED OR UNDERWAY:
This is the seventh in a series of semi-annual reports to the Governor and the General Assembly pursuant to the provisions of Sections 10a-109 through 10a-109m of the Connecticut General Statutes, originally An Act to Enhance the Infrastructure of the University of Connecticut, and now known as UCONN 2000.
While UCONN 2000 is appropriately viewed as a program to rebuild, renew and enhance the University’s physical infrastructure, its ultimate goal is much broader: to attract Connecticut’s high achieving students as part of the state’s commitment to maintain a top notch workforce. With only three years of construction completed, the program is already demonstrating its success with this fall’s student enrollment. 1998 freshman enrollment has jumped nearly 17 percent over the prior year, and minority enrollment is up 27 percent. Equally impressive, the average SAT score of the freshman class is eight points higher than last year’s class. In the past, survey data indicated that the regrettable state of the campus was a prime reason accepted students chose to attend college elsewhere. This year, no surveys are necessary. The quality, diversity and size of UConn’s freshman class speaks for itself.
UCONN 2000: ACTIVITIES COMPLETED OR UNDERWAY
- The Board of Trustees at its May 27, 1998 meeting approved the following list of Year 4 (FY 1998-99) projects:
|Fairfield Road Pedestrian Mall||
|School of Business||
|School of Pharmacy||
|Stamford Downtown Campus||
|Underground Steam/Water Upgrade||
|Deferred Maintenance Renovation Lump Sum||
- Bids were received on the Litchfield Agricultural Center project on July 3, 1998. The bids received were over the budget available for the project. The project is being redesigned and will be rebid in November 1998. This $1,350,000 facility will contain approximately 10,000 square feet of space for the Cooperative Extension service in Litchfield County. The Litchfield Agricultural Center is dedicating a $350,000 grant to augment the $1,000,000 available through UCONN 2000 funding. It is estimated that the construction will be completed in the fall of 1999.
- Construction document drawings are being prepared for a new School of Business Administration building. This 100,000 square foot building will be built on Hillside Road across from the Gampel Pavilion. This project’s funding will be augmented by $4 million to be raised from private donations. The project will be bid in December 1998. The pre-qualification process for general contractors has begun.
- Program planning for the Student Union project is underway. This project, which will include renovations and a major addition to the current facility, has a primary goal of expanding the range and quality of activities available to students in the campus core. To be completed in November 1998, the program plan is a necessary precursor to the design phase.
- Schematic design drawings for the renovations of the Waring building have been completed. Present plans are for the building to house the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offices, the English Department and the Geography Department. The project includes the creation of additional classrooms. This project will be bid in summer of 1999. Waring formerly housed the Chemistry program, which is currently moving to its new home — the first academic facility built under UCONN 2000.
- Design development drawings are under review for the renovation of the Northwest Quad Dormitories, including a new Central Dining Facility for the complex, which will eliminate the small kitchens that currently exist in each of the seven buildings. This change will significantly reduce operating costs for dining services while freeing up additional program support space in each building. The dorm rooms will be renovated similar to the rooms at the new South Campus Dormitories. The project will be bid in summer of 1999.
- After further evaluation the University has decided to relocate the planned Central Warehouse Facility due to the discovery of solid waste at the initial project site. The project is being redesigned with bidding scheduled for the winter of 1999.
- Architectural design is underway for an addition to Storrs Hall for the School of Nursing. Funds for the addition will be raised through private donations while funds for renovation of the existing facility will come through UCONN 2000. The project schedule will be dependent on these fundraising activities.
- The Facilities Management Home Page on the World Wide Web continues to be very successful in providing information to interested parties. The site has been visited over 8,129 times since its introduction in October 1996. It provides an e-mail alert list for those firms with Internet access in order to inform them of project opportunities at the University as part of UConn’s efforts to provide wider distribution of professional service solicitations.
- Since the last report, three bond authorizations for projects authorized prior to UCONN 2000 have received favorable action by the State Bond Commission. These are the last of the pre-UCONN 2000 projects that required State Bond Commission action. These projects are:
- Mansfield Training School Improvements
- Gant Plaza Deck Repair
- Renovation & Code Requirements Improvements at Waterbury
- As part of the building and renovation program, the University of Connecticut is in the process of standardizing building systems and system components (such as electrical circuitry, panel boxes, etc.). This standardization process will reduce the number of replacement parts the University needs to inventory, speed repairs, improve the level of maintenance and lower overall costs.
- The success of the Owners Controlled Insurance Program (OCIP) continues, enabling the University to use savings to add scope of work within budget for each project. The University is looking into carrying the OCIP into Phase II UCONN 2000 projects.
- The University of Connecticut has announced a partnership with Pfizer, Inc., for the building of a facility on the Storrs campus that will house an Animal Vaccine Research Center. Pfizer, Inc., will fund the building project on land leased from the University for one dollar a year. The University will occupy 20% of the space in the building. This collaboration will serve as a model for the University as it explores other activities with Connecticut industry. The Environmental Assessment draft for the project is now being circulated for public comment. Construction is scheduled to begin in December 1998.
Responses were due on October 7, 1998 for the selection of an architectural firm for the design of a University Visitors Center. This project is funded through a private gift and will provide a central location to offer visitors tours and information about the University and University events. The likely site for the Center is on North Eagleville Road, near the new parking garage, the Alumni House and the planned University Programs building (see below).
- Responses were due on October 29, 1998 from architectural firms for renovations at the Law School. This project will provide for the phased renovation of several buildings, including the old Law School Library Building.
- Final designs are being completed for the University Programs building. This project is being built on land leased from the University by the University of Connecticut Foundation to house the Foundation’s private fundraising activities. Construction activities will begin in November 1998. Funding for the project is being obtained by the Foundation.
- Advertisements were placed for the selection of an architect for the new School of Pharmacy project. Nineteen firms responded; six firms were interviewed for the project. The firm of Davis, Brody Bond was selected. The project provides for the construction of a 120,000 square foot facility.
- Classes began in January 1998 at the new downtown Stamford facility. This project, which involved the renovation of the 230,000 square foot building formerly occupied by Bloomingdale’s, was open for instructional activity 16 months after construction started. The building was dedicated in April with all final construction activity (short of punchlist) completed in September. The project moved forward despite the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by Guy F. Atkinson Company, the parent firm of this project’s general contractor, Walsh Construction Company of Trumbull, Connecticut.
- Construction activity is continuing on the Avery Point Marine Science project. This project includes a new 116,000 square foot research building, a 30,000 square foot Project Oceanology building, and a new central chilled water plant. This project will be completed in May 2000. The contractor on the project is C.R. Klewin of Norwich, Connecticut.
- Occupancy of the Chemistry building began in September 1998. The six-floor building is a 200,000 square foot steel structure with block/brick face and metal roof construction. It houses teaching, research and administrative facilities, with each occupying a separate wing. Construction of the building began December 2, 1996 and final punchlist activities will be complete in December 1998. At present, many faculty and graduate students have moved into lab and office space; classes are scheduled to begin in the new facility at the start of next semester.
- The South Campus Residential and Dining Hall saw the three dormitory facilities ready for occupancy in August 1998. The dining facility will be completed in November 1998. The dormitories will house 674 students with a suite set-up. Some groups of students have chosen to live in academic clusters where students who share a major can live and learn together. The Honors Program is also housed in South Campus, which was designed specifically to include instructional space. Construction on this project began in June 1997.
- Construction activity continues on the Biological Sciences project. The contractor is HRH/Atlas of Stamford, Connecticut. The building is a seven-story 145,000 square foot facility designed for biology and physics research. The exterior of the building will be brick veneer; a glass greenhouse will occupy the roof. The project is scheduled for completion in August 1999.
- During the summer the centralized chilled water and emergency power portions of the Central Heating Plant project were completed so that the Chemistry building could be occupied. This project will provide for centralized chilled water, fire pumps, and emergency power for all buildings in the central campus and technology quad areas. The project will also provide for the connection of chilled water, fire protection, emergency power, primary power, telecommunications, steam and domestic water within a utility tunnel in the technology quad. The project is scheduled for completion February 1999 and serves as an excellent example of the University’s commitment to energy efficiency and environmental responsibility for the entire UCONN 2000 effort. The contractor for this project is Precision Power Incorporated of Hamden, Connecticut.
- Construction on the South Campus Chiller project was completed in August 1998. This project provides chilled water, centralized fire protection, and emergency power to the south side of campus. The general contractor on this project was Konover Construction of West Hartford, Connecticut. The ability to sequence and construct planned centralized utility systems as part of the larger building program is a critical component of the UCONN 2000 program.
- Construction continues for the Music and Drama/Music Additions and Renovations project. Renovations to the Drama/Music building were completed this summer. Structural steel has been put into place for the new Orchestra and the Music Library Buildings. The project is scheduled for completion in September 1999. The general contractor for this project is O&G Industries of Torrington, Connecticut.
- OThe new Dairy Bar portion of the White Building Code Improvements project will be occupied in October 1998. The remainder of the project is scheduled for completion May 1999. The general contractor on this project is Carlin Construction of Waterford, Connecticut. The Diary Bar, already one of the campus’ most popular spots, promises to be an even greater success serving ice cream in its new home.
- On October 2, 1998 a construction contract was awarded to HRH/Altas of Stamford, Connecticut for the construction of Agricultural Biotechnology Center project. This building will contain research activities of the College of Agricultural and Natural Resources. Funding for the project consists of UCONN 2000 and federal funds. Project completion is scheduled for the fall of 1999.
- The Fairfield Road Pedestrian Mall project construction is moving at a rapid pace. This project, which is a key component of the University Master Plan, will change the center of the campus into a pedestrian environment, vastly enhancing aesthetics, safety and the opportunity of social interaction. Included in the project is the creation of an underground utility tunnel that will provide for efficient (and easily maintained) central chilled water, heating, emergency power, and fire protection to the central campus buildings including the new School of Business, new School of Pharmacy, Student Union, and Babbidge Library. The general contractor for this project is Precision Power, Incorporated of Hamden, Connecticut. The project is scheduled for completion in December 1998.
- The Mansfield Road Shuttle Bus project will be complete on October 15, 1998. This project, which includes many pedestrian path improvements, will enable the University to add an internal campus shuttle loop to its expanding transportation service system. Convenient access to the central core of campus is a critical component of a pedestrian centered campus.
- Babbidge Library repairs are scheduled for completion in mid October 1998 under the management of the Department of Public Works.
As of September 30, 1998, $382 million of the $962 million in authorizations for UCONN 2000 projects had been allocated and approved for bonding by the Board of Trustees and the Governor. On February 21, 1996, the University, in conjunction with the Office of the State Treasurer, issued $83.9 million of “The University of Connecticut General Obligation (GO) Bonds 1996 Series A” secured by the State’s Debt Service Commitment. This was followed by General Obligation Debt Service Commitment bond issuances of $124.4 million in April 1997 and $99.5 million in June 1998. Through these issuances, the University funded $303 million for projects.
Major projects funded with proceeds of these issuances include: the Chemistry Building, the Stamford Downtown Campus, the Avery Point Marine Sciences Research Center, the Parking Garage, the Agricultural Biotechnology Facility, the Technology Quadrant Phase IA, the Heating Plant Upgrade, Deferred Maintenance work and Capital Equipment purchases.
As of October 8, 1998 the UCONN 2000 Debt Service Commitment Bonds were rated AA by Standard & Poor’s, A-1 by Moody’s Investors Service, and AA- by Fitch Investors Service. In addition, certain maturities of bonds are insured with AAA rated municipal bond insurance. The University and the Office of the State Treasurer together managed the Debt Service Commitment Bond sale process.
Pursuant to the Indenture of Trust, during June 1998, the construction fund proceeds from the Debt Service Commitment 1998-A Bond Issue, and a small amount of remaining proceeds from the previous issue, were deposited to State Street Bank & Trust, as Trustee, with the directive that the Trustee invest the proceeds so deposited in the State Treasurer’s Short Term Investment Fund. This fund is “AAA” rated and offers daily liquidity and historically attractive risk-adjusted yields.
On February 4, 1998, the University issued $33.6 million of the University of Connecticut Student Fee Revenue Bonds 1998 Series A, of which $30 million was used to fund the South Campus Residence and Dining Hall project. The University managed the issuance and sale of the UCONN 2000 Student Fee Revenue Bonds 1998 Series A, and realized a favorable true interest cost over the twenty-nine year term. The main source of repayment of the bonds is an Infrastructure Maintenance Fee paid by students, with additional funding from other University sources.
The majority of the Student Fee Revenue Bonds 1998 Series A proceeds are being used to finance a portion of the cost of the South Campus project, including dormitories and a consolidated dining hall facility. Additionally, part of the proceeds was used to fund a Special Capital Reserve Fund. The University has invested the bond proceeds in suitable investment obligations pursuant to the Indenture of Trust.e.
The State SCRF enhancement allowed the bonds to obtain a “AA-” rating from Standard & Poor’s with a positive outlook, a “AA-” rating from Fitch Investors Service, and a “A-1” rating from Moody’s Investors Service. The bonds were subsequently insured by MBIA and upgraded to a “AAA” rating category at Fitch and Standard Poor’s and “Aaa” at Moody’s Investors Service. On October 8, 1998, Standard & Poor’s upgraded the underlying rating to AA .
The University, in conjunction with the Office of the State Treasurer, currently anticipates offering a new Debt Service Commitment Bond issue around March of 1999. Generally, the University plans on issuing a series of Debt Service Commitment Bonds at least every twelve months.
Additionally, at some future point, the University could issue Special Obligation Revenue Bonds for certain projects determined to have the capacity to be financially self-sufficient. An example of an undertaking that may warrant such is a “Greek” housing project for fraternities and sororities on campus.
- The UCONN 2000 endowment matching gift program has been a resounding success, resulting in unprecedented levels of giving from alumni and other friends of the University.
- To date, the $20 million in 1:1 match of state funds to private gifts as provided by the original UCONN 2000 legislation is either in-hand or fully committed. During the first year of the program, $9.1 million in match-eligible gifts was received. During calendar year 1997, an additional $6.5 million was received and, $1.6 million was received in calendar year 1998 as of June 30th. The remaining $2.8 million is scheduled to be collected by December 31, 1998.
- The $9.1 million in state funds to match the private gifts received in 1996 was transferred by the state to the University in December 1997 and immediately invested.
- In February 1998, the Board of Trustees submitted to the State a request for $6.8 million in matching funds to be paid against the endowment gifts received in 1997.
- IIn recognition of the program’s success, the General Assembly enacted a continuation and restructuring of the match on a 1:2 basis (one state dollar to every two private dollars). From Fiscal Year 2000 to Fiscal Year 2007, the state grant will total up to $52.5 million, depending on the level of match-eligible donations actually received. To date, $2.4 million in pledges has been received as part of the 1:2 matching gift program.
- The size of individual gifts has increased dramatically since the inception of the UCONN 2000 matching gifts program. As of June 30, 1998, 87 donors made contributions of between $25,000 and $99,999. During the same period, 29 donors made gifts of $100,000 or more.
- The toTotal endowment assets for the University at June 30, 1998 were $128 million, including the Foundation’s total endowment assets of $123 million. Foundation endowment assets grew 43% during Fiscal Year 1998. The $123 million in Foundation assets shows excellent growth as compared to the $86 million at June 30, 1997 and the $50 million at June 30, 1995.