BY JOSIE GERESZEK
The library’s three-phase face-lift is well underway and nearing completion. Staff are hoping to move into the most recently renovated part of the building during or shortly following spring break.
The renovations, first proposed in 2004 and started in July 2012, are moving along well, and staff are looking at a final completion date at the end of March. Brittney Goodman, dean of instructional resources, said despite adding some scope to the project last year by including renovation of the third and fourth floors, the project has been reasonably on schedule. Goodman said the project hasn’t encountered any unusual obstacles.
“Every project has obstacles,” she said. “Construction and renovation is something that relies heavily on each subcontractor working on the project, sticking to a tight timeline and getting their part of the project done so that the next step can be made. It’s always a delicate balance.”
Of course the renovation hasn’t been free of inconveniences.
“Heating and cooling have been issues during construction,” Goodman said. “At times it has been very hot or very cold. But that’s one of the reasons we’re doing the project, so that in the future we will have a great heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems.”
Library staff has also been shuffled around during the renovations, making some of the new amenities unavailable to students until the entire project is complete.
“We had to the do the project in phases,” Goodman said. “Since we had to keep the library running, there was no place to move the library and staff to during the project. It has involved intricate planning and multiple moves of offices and workspaces and service desks. We realize it could get confusing and tried to do our best to communicate any changes.”
Goodman said students have seemed to adjust relatively well.
“We are not as busy as we normally would be, but students are finding us. It is a bit odd to have all the computing and the reference desk on the second floor, but when I look out of my office, I see a lot of students using the computers and printers.”
The renovations, made possible by a State of Minnesota Capital Bonding request, have enabled replacement of the building’s out of date heating, cooling and wiring systems, as well as an upgrade of the technology infrastructure of the building to better meet the needs of students and faculty. The project has also created a more comfortable, usable space where students will be able to learn, collaborate, study and do research.
The completed renovation will provide a second entrance to the building, a shift of 24-hour computer labs to the first floor, increased wireless and electrical connectivity, more convenient locations of reference, check out and help desks, a faculty development center, updates of the third and fourth floors, a better movement between the first and second floors and an aesthetic makeover of the entire building.
The renovation has also included adding and updating study rooms with better multimedia. Many of the new rooms have been equipped with TVs, projectors and monitors for students to connect with personal devices like laptops and tablets. Students will also be able to check out video players and other like equipment.
“I think students are going to be very happy with the final product,” Goodman said. “The faculty, staff and student workers in the library cannot wait for you to see the completed project.”