Plans for Constitution Plaza

November 17, 2016


To the Trinity College Community,

Almost 200 years after our founding, Trinity College is actively planning to re-establish a site in Hartford’s central business district.  With excitement, we intend to launch our downtown campus at Constitution Plaza in fall 2017.  Our presence in the increasingly vibrant downtown will enhance the potential for collaboration among our students, staff, and faculty with other institutions of higher education and local businesses and organizations in the Hartford community.  Specific uses for the space that are being considered include new and/or expanded facilities for a liberal arts action laboratory, entrepreneurship studies, and internships, as well as extended graduate and certificate programs.
  
As you may recall, during the 2014-15 academic year, we held open forums and multiple conversations on campus that helped us determine our space needs for a downtown campus.  After careful consideration of our needs, we decided to entertain offers to sell the property while leasing a smaller part of it back rather than taking on the responsibility of becoming a major landlord.  We were presented an attractive option by LHR Group and BHN Properties to sell 200 Constitution Plaza and to lease back space totaling about 21,000 square feet in 10 Constitution Plaza, a freestanding, low-rise building, and the third floor of One Constitution Plaza, an adjacent office tower.  Trinity will recoup the purchase price plus the costs of the capital improvements that we have made at 200 Constitution Plaza.  We will lease prime real estate in the heart of downtown Hartford with tremendous opportunities for engagement and collaboration.  The financial terms of our 200 Constitution Plaza transaction cannot be disclosed until the deal closes, which we anticipate taking several months. 

At yesterday’s meeting of the steering committee of our Bicentennial Strategic Planning Commission, we discussed key ways in which planning for the use of Constitution Plaza space will dovetail with the work of our strategic planning subcommittees.  At the same time, we recognize the need for a multi-constituency committee that will be specifically focused on this major project and charged with guiding a process that leads to the launch of our new space.  The Constitution Plaza Planning Committee will be co-chaired by Sue Aber, vice president for information services and chief information officer, and Stefanie Chambers, Charles A. Dana Research Associate Professor of Political Science.  Other members of the committee are Jane Bisson ’18; Henry Chavez ’18; Carol Clark, associate professor of economics; Tim Cresswell, dean of the faculty and vice president for academic affairs; Carlos Espinosa, director of Trinfo.Café; Sheila Fisher, professor of English; Renny Fulco, associate professor of legal and policy studies; Tom Fusciello, director of construction, design and capital projects; Violet Gannon, director of the Career Development Center; Gerry Gunderson, Shelby Cullom Davis Professor of American Business and Economic Enterprise; Ellen Hart, assistant director of institutional support; Dan Hitchell, vice president of finance and chief financial officer; Jason Jones, director of educational technology; Fred Kass, director of IT infrastructure services and associate CIO; Sarah Lucas, assistant director of student activities, involvement and leadership; and Jason Rojas, chief of staff and director of community relations.

Our downtown presence provides us an unparalleled opportunity to engage, connect, and transform – embracing the core of our new mission statement.  If you have questions or ideas you would like to share, please direct your communication to Sue Aber (suzanne.aber@trincoll.edu​) or Stefanie Chambers (stefanie.chambers@trincoll.edu), the co-chairs of the Constitution Plaza Planning Committee.

Sincerely,

Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience