Overview of Campus
Situated on 72 acres of land, containing 28 buildings totaling 471,849 square feet, and bordered on three sides by water, UConn's Avery Point location fits well with its marine and maritime mission. This mission includes fulfilling UConn’s responsibilities as a sea grant institution. Avery Point contributes to the understanding – and solution – of problems relating to the intersection of oceans and people, both through the expertise of the faculty and the education of its students who will help ensure sustainable uses of marine resources and coastal regions and cities.
From the Mission Statement of the CT Department of Higher Ed Role & Scope, “The Avery Point campus will place special emphasis on marine and maritime-oriented undergraduate and graduate curricula, as well as programs responsive to the needs of its significant corporate and industrial constituencies, and its unique regional economic and cultural characteristics.” Five core areas to fulfilling this role and scope are:
- Liberal Arts Undergraduate Programming
- Marine and Maritime Undergraduate Programs
- Graduate and Professional Programs
- Research Activities
- Community Outreach Activities
The Avery Point Campus was formerly the summer estate of Morton Plant, a railroad, steamship and hotel magnate. Branford House, the mansion overlooking Long Island Sound, was reportedly worth $3 million when it was completed in 1904. Also located on the estate was a caretaker’s house (the current police station) and a barn and horse stable (the current physical plant buildings). The estate included what is now the Shennecossett Public Golf Course located just north of the campus.
The Plant estate was turned over to the State of Connecticut in the 1930’s. During World War II, it was leased to the Coast Guard as a training center. During that period, the Coast Guard built the present cinder block buildings. In 1967, the estate was converted to the Southeastern Campus of the University of Connecticut, and later renamed the University of Connecticut at Avery Point.
Please see this article from the New London Day about the original acquisition of the property by the University of Connecticut in 1967.
You may see the 30 July 2015 talk by Groton Town Historian James L. Streeter about the US Coast Guard Training Facility here.
The stunning architecture of UConn's Avery Point campus' buildings can be grouped into three eras:
- The historic buildings associated with the Morton Plant estate – the mansion, caretaker’s house (the current police station), barn and horse stable (the current physical plant buildings), and the boathouse.
- The Coast Guard Training Center Buildings constructed in the 1940’s – the current Library, Academic Building, Student Center, Community and Professional building, and Gym.
The oceanside location of the Avery Point campus provides opportunities for the public as well as the campus community to enjoy the Sculpture path brick walkway, as well as spectacular views of Fishers Island and Long Island Sound.
In the last few years, the Avery Point campus has undergone a major transformation. Included in a recent $50 million renovation project is a new Marine Sciences and technology building, the renovation of the Branford House, the Gym, and classrooms in the Academic Building, a new Project Oceanology building, a new research vessel, and new landscaping for our campus-by-the-sea. A new, green Student Center opened in August of 2013.