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UConn Avery Point Day to Showcase Rrenovations and Resources (Released: 10/05/01)

By Janice Palmer, Office of University Communications

GROTON, Conn. -- The tide is turning at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point Campus in Groton. What had been a crumbling campus with sprawling green lawns and spectacular views of Long Island Sound is undergoing a major facelift, and the changes will be showcased Saturday, Oct. 13, during the first UConn Avery Point Day.

The event runs from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Campus officials hope to draw families from Connecticut and beyond to the campus-by-the sea, with more than 70 marine-related exhibits and demonstrations, as well as music and food.

"The idea of Avery Point Day is to get us on the map. We are off the beaten path and we want the community to come onto our campus, to see and experience the rich resources we have here," says Joseph Comprone, an associate vice chancellor and campus director.

All campus groups are participating, from the bookstore to undergraduate and graduate faculty and students, the athletics department, Project Oceanology, the National Undersea Research Center, the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program and the Long Island Resource Center.

Carol Crosby, who organized the event, has been working with school systems from Westerly, R.I., to Madison to publicize the activities, which are free to the public.

"We have something to offer people of all ages, from 6 to 106," Crosby says. "You can come at 10 a.m. and stay until 3 p.m. and still not see everything."

Events include a demonstration showing how oysters clean the Sound, a field trip to a nearby freshwater pond, tours of UConn's research vessel, lessons on setting up a saltwater aquarium, and a chance to get up close and personal with an array of sea life exhibited in touch tanks.

A variety of musical performances are planned, a local boat club is making several rowboats and a sailboat available for use by the public, and the Branford House will be rededicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The campus, which opened in 1967, has operated on limited resources. The World War II-era buildings were constructed as a temporary facility on what was left of the summer estate of Morton Plant, a turn-of-the-century industrialist.

An infusion of nearly $48 million from the UCONN2000 program has gone a long way in rectifying leaky roofs and archaic infrastructure. The first wave of construction included a new central utility plant, major improvements in telecommunications and landscaping, the new marine sciences and Project Oceanology buildings, and the renovation of the Branford House, part of which has become administrative offices. The gymnasium has been painted and is about to get a new roof. The academic building is slated for an overhaul next spring.

More information about UConn Avery Point Day can be found at http://www.averypoint.uconn.edu.

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