At the end of September, the University of Connecticut’s Board of Trustees approved spending more than $1 million on a new roof for the science building — a building that’s going to get demolished.
The school hopes to start tearing down the Torrey Life Science building within the next five years, but it can’t start demolition until enough new classrooms and lab space are built.
In the meantime, students need to continue using the Torrey Life Science building, which dates all the way back to 1961, and which has major structural issues. One of the issues is that there are serious leaks when it rains, which has naturally created problems for students and researchers who use the building.
“It is very important that they spend the money now to replace the roof of this building, especially if it is going to be 5 years before they have a better solution. If the roof is already showing signs of severe wear now, it could have integrity issues as well. It is better to fix it and ensure the safety of the students and staff using the building on a daily basis,” says Dmytriy Rykov, Owner of DVR Roofing in Toronto, ON.
According to Laura Cruickshank, UCONN’s master planner, the water has saturated the roof, priming it for a massive leak.
“You can’t predict where the leak is going to happen,” she explained, noting that “you can’t just put a bucket there to protect it.”
The Torrey Life Science building’s future had been the subject of discussion for over two decades, according to Cruickshank. Several years ago, the school budgeted over $130 million to renovate the science building, so that it would meet current research standards. However, a study showed that the building’s structural problems were far too extensive. The building was basically lost.
However, the school can’t operate without its lab space, and so students and researchers are stuck using it until the new facilities can be built.
According to President Susan Herbst, the whole situation is “not ideal, but people are in there and they’ve got to be safe.”