The Power is Now

2021 Power 25 Real Estate: Laura Cruickshank – Hartford Business

UConn may be one of the most active developers in the state of Connecticut.

Step on to the Storrs campus and you’ll find a small city in the middle of a rural community. And don’t forget UConn’s other campuses in Avery Point, Waterbury, Stamford and Hartford, which debuted just a few short years ago after a $150-million plus buildout.

Overseeing all of it is Laura Cruickshank, UConn’s master planner, chief architect and associate vice president of university planning, design and construction. It’s a long title for someone with big responsibilities.

Laura Cruickshank

UConn has been very active over the past year including with the construction of its new Northwest Science Quad, which is a total of five projects on the Storrs campus that will encompass 22 acres and cost $640 million when fully complete.

“All of the projects are interconnected and have to be coordinated for completion, it is like dominoes,” Cruickshank said.

The school also completed a new Athletics District Development, including the Rizza Family Performance Center, Elliot Ballpark (now home to the men’s baseball team), Morrone Stadium for soccer and women’s lacrosse and Burrill Family Field for softball.

UConn also just broke ground on a new $70 million on-campus hockey arena.

Cruickshank is also working on a student housing master plan and the renovation of the Gant Building, a 285,000-square-foot, three-phase project that encompasses state-of-the-art teaching and research labs for multiple science disciplines, faculty offices and classrooms. The entire building (walls, roof, windows) and infrastructure were rebuilt and are targeting LEED Gold certification.

Finally, a new 200,000-square-foot STEM science building is under construction, scheduled to be completed in fall 2022.

Cruickshank, who was previously the university planner at Yale, said one of her most significant accomplishments was overseeing the restoration of the Hartford Times building, which is now home to the school’s Hartford campus.

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