Avery Point Buildings (exterior photographs):
Branford House Mansion / Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art / Welcome Center & Admissions
The Branford House mansion was built in 1903 by Morton Freeman Plant for three million dollars. Originally this 31 room mansion rivaled those found in Newport, RI. The Director’s Office, with its spectacular views of Fisher’s Island Sound, and the Alexey von Schlippe Gallery of Art are located on the second floor. The Branford House was named after the town where he was born, Branford, CT. The mansion was designed by his wife Nellie who studied architecture at the Sorbonne in Paris. Like many other business moguls of his day, Plant only summered at Avery Point for a few weeks each year (calling mansions like these “cottages.” ) In 1967, University of Connecticut purchased Avery Point from the U.S. Coast Guard. It is also home to the administrative offices of the campus. The Registrar, Bursar, Advising, Business Office, and Student Affairs are all grouped together, for student convenience, on the third floor. The campus Welcome Center gives scheduled tours that leave from this location.
The Avery Point Library is one of six University libraries and houses the majority of the Marine Sciences and Maritime Studies materials. The library provides students with electronic access to thousands of academic journals and millions of books through the 17 research libraries in the Northeast that are members of the Boston Library consortium.
Academic Building/Student Center/Campus Store/Mort’s Dining (campus cafe)
Around 1942, the Coast Guard leased the Morton Plant estate and built the Academic Building. The building was used as a training center for the Coast Guard. In 1967, the state of Connecticut converted the estate into the Southeastern campus of UConn. Now the Academic Building is the main location for a majority of the undergraduate academic classes taken by students. The building is composed of three floors with the Co-op (campus store), the faculty offices of three of the four- year majors for English, American Studies, and Maritime Studies and the Academic Center are all located on the main floor. The second floor houses state of the art science labs and an auditorium, while the third floor has more classrooms and a computer lab. The lower floor of the Academic Building has the Student Center and Avery Points’ café called Mort’s.
The Avery Point Police Station was originally built by Morton Plant, a railroad and steamship magnate. It was originally built in 1904 as the caretaker’s house. Since Morton Plant only used this estate as a summer resort, he needed someone to oversee the land the rest of the year and make sure everything was in order. It is now used as a station for the police department of Avery Point, which is responsible for all law enforcement matters on campus. It is staffed 24 hours per day 7 days a week by uniformed officers.
UConn Avery Point’s Athletic Center features a 6-lane, 25-yard swimming pool, gymnasium, and fitness center. The multi-purpose gymnasium features a full collegiate basketball court, and can be configured for volleyball (two courts), indoor soccer, or indoor floor hockey.
The pool and gym are available for Avery Point faculty, staff, and student use Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The gym and pool are used by Avery Point sports teams, high school teams, clubs, community groups, and sports leagues in the afternoons and evenings during the week, as well as on the weekends.
The fitness center features treadmills, ellipticals, and stationary bicycles. Avery Point faculty, staff, and students can enjoy dramatic views of Long Island Sound while using the fitness center Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Individual memberships are available to the public.
Marine Sciences Building
Marine Sciences Building is home to all undergraduate and graduate students in the Department of Marine Sciences (DMS). The main building is 134,000 square feet and was built in 2001. It includes classrooms, state of the art computer and science labs, seminar rooms, and faculty, staff and student offices. Smaller class sizes offer more opportunities for faculty / student interactions. The basement includes a sophisticated machine and electronics shop and a high bay for buoy and mooring preparations. The Marine Sciences Building also houses offices for the Connecticut Sea Grant (CTSG) program, the Northeast Underwater Research, Technology and Education Center (NURTEC) and the Connecticut Institute for Resilience & Climate Adaptation (CIRCA). The DMS’s nearby Rankin Lab houses a 2,400 square feet wet laboratory with a greenhouse and continuous sea waterflow pumped in from Long Island Sound. The DMS operates the R/V Connecticut, R/V Weicker and numerous small boats from its waterfront pier, and dive operations out of its dive facilities/locker.
Student Center / Auditorium/ Mort’s Dining / Campus Store
The Student Center was opened in August of 2013 to benefit the students of Avery Point and serve as a social hub. Used for many events such as musical events and comedians, it is no wonder that most of our students gather here. There is also a game room, with a foosball table, ping-pong table, and pool table that many students enjoy playing in small tournaments or non-competitive games. Not only that, but the Student Center provides a space to study with many tables and electrical outlets for computers and charging mobile devices. Included in the Student Center is Mort’s, an on-campus eating café open Monday through Thursday from 7am-7pm and Fridays from 7am-3pm. With a variety of meal options such as soups, pizza, sandwiches, burgers, and salads, this café has something for everyone. Meal plans are also available at Mort’s, providing a 10% discount.
Academic Center – ACD Room 107
The Academic Center is where students have access to free tutoring for a majority of the subjects taught at Avery Point. The tutors are peers who have taken the class and know the professor’s teaching style and expectations. Group tutoring and individual tutoring are offered along with access to computers and printers. You can schedule an appointment ahead of time or you can walk in. The Academic Center is located on the first floor of the Academic Building.
third floor of Branford House / administrative offices
The third floor of Branford House is home to the administrative offices of the campus. A Welcome Center is located on the first floor and it was renovated in 2012. The Director’s Office is located on the second floor and offers a spectacular view of Fisher’s Island Sound. Admissions, Registrar, Bursar, Advising, Business Office, and Student Affairs are located on the third floor. The interior of Branford House was renovated by the University around 2001 and the patio in 2015.
Pool / Gym / exercise / weight room
third floor conference room in Marine Sciences Building / patio
The Great Outdoors
The Gazebo lawn is a great space for students to gather in the warm weather. You will see students playing soccer or throwing a Frisbee to relieve stress on their challenging academic schedules. Events are also held here, such as a college version of “field day” and, in the colder months, a snowman-building contest. This is also the area where Avery Point’s new students will meet for orientation, participating in group games and various icebreakers.
This, the last lighthouse built in Connecticut, was refurbished and reopened in 2006. It was built just prior to World War II and not lighted until later in the war once the fear of a coastal invasion subsided. As part of the Sculpture Walkway, visitors to campus enjoy walking to and photographing this coastal icon.
Date Built: 1944 on the grounds of the Coast Guard Training Station at Avery Point, Groton, CT.
Characteristic: Ceremonial light tower – also used as an active aid to navigation from 1945 through 1967. Initially it was a fixed white light. On 3 March 1960 the characteristic was changed to flashing green as a part of a cluster of eight lights.**
Decommissioned: 25 June 1967 when the Coast Guard moved its training facility to Governor’s Island.
**Information provided by the Avery Point Lighthouse Society
- 1940: This lighthouse was constructed as a memorial tower, a symbol of the Coast Guard’s light-keeping responsibility. (It was also built, according to the Avery Point Lighthouse Society, “to fulfill a contingency of the Quit Claim deed for receiving the property from the State of Connecticut. . .It was the last lighthouse built in the state of Connecticut.”)
- 1967: The light was extinguished. No maintenance or upkeep had been done since then.
- 1997: It had been placed on the “Doomsday List” compiled by the magazine, Lighthouse Digest, as of December 1997.
The Sculpture Path is perhaps the most spectacular addition UConn’s Avery Point Campus. Julia Pavone, Artistic Director, invites you to enjoy this community and state treasure any day of the week between dawn and dusk. Let our Sculpture Path lead you to our renovated Avery Point Lighthouse.
John Gardner Boathouse for Community Boating
UConn Avery Point’s Waterfront Program was created in 2005 and is designed to provide recreational, instructional, academic, and competitive on-the-water programming to the UConn Avery Point community that complements the marine and maritime focus of this coastal regional campus. Our current fleet of boats includes (3) Collegiate 420 sailing dinghies, (4) Club 420 Sailing Dinghies, (12) Collegiate FJ sailing dinghies, 4 kayaks, and two 16’ safety powerboats.
These are launched from our beachside facility located at the North end of campus. Weather permitting, the boats are used regularly on the waters of the Thames River and Fishers Island Sound.
Dock and Research Vessels
The Department of Marine Sciences Vessel Operations offers a variety of maritime and research related support. Our fleet includes the R/V Connecticut, the R/V Lowell Weicker, the R/V Challenger, and our fleet of small boats. The R/V Connecticut is a custom designed 76′ steel single screw research vessel. The R/V Lowell Weicker is a custom designed 39′ twin screw research vessel. The R/V Challenger is a 25′ Boston Whaler with twin 150 hp outboards. Our small boat fleet includes a variety of skiffs and open hull boats design to support near shore research activities.