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UConn “Next Gen” Plan Approved

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut’s General Assembly gave final legislative approval Wednesday to a $1.5 billion plan to expand the University of Connecticut.

The Next Generation plan would use state bonds to build new labs, classrooms and housing at the school, and allow for a 30 percent increase in enrollment, much of it in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

The school also plans to use Next Generation money to add 259 faculty positions and give out more scholarships.

The bill passed the House on a vote of 120-21 early Wednesday and heads to the desk of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has pushed for the plan.

UConn President Susan Herbst called it “nothing short of transformational.”

“In an era of lagging state support for public higher education throughout the nation, Connecticut is going in the opposite direction by making extraordinary investments in its research university,” Herbst said in a statement. “It is incredibly bold, far-sighted, and virtually unheard of in the current climate and will make UConn one of the most research-productive universities in the world.”

The plan would include construction projects at the school’s main campus in Storrs as well as the relocation of a satellite campus from West Hartford to downtown Hartford, the addition of housing and new programs to the Stamford campus, and improvements at the Avery Point campus.

Supporters say the program will attract research grants and boost high-wage jobs in science and technology. The school has projected it will bring in more than $270 million in new research over 10 years, spur half a billion dollars in business activity, and support more than 4,000 permanent jobs and 30,000 construction jobs.

Opponents expressed concerns over the cost.

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