For sale: UConn’s West Hartford campus

The University of Connecticut is offering the town of West Hartford the opportunity to purchase its 58-acre branch campus as the public university moves toward relocating in downtown Hartford.

That relocation — which was initially expected to cost the state $115 million — is now expected to cost $140 million. It involves new construction and renovating the former Hartford Times building to relocate UConn’s business, social work and public administration schools as well as its undergraduate branch.

West Hartford officials have until Jan. 15 to decide if they are interested in purchasing the property. Officials at the university were unable to say how much they are asking for the property that houses five buildings.

The current lease for the business school, located on Constitution Plaza in downtown Hartford, will expire just as the new downtown campus opens.

With the anticipated costs having already increased by 22 percent, members of UConn’s Board of Trustees Wednesday asked for and received assurances from university leaders that there would be no more cost overruns.

This project is funded by the state through a $2.1 billion omnibus construction initiative for UConn dubbed Next Generation.

The university probably will not be able to use proceeds from the sale of the branch campus to help close the anticipated deficit in its operating budget. State law requires using the money from any sale of land to cover future construction costs. Also, $6.7 million from the sale has to go to cover past borrowing by the university.