Changes to library include new annex

The Board of Regents will meet Dec. 5 to further discuss renovations and projects for University libraries.

Interim President Tim Miller said one possibility the board will discuss is the addition of an annex to Waterfield Library, which is a less expensive project than the new library proposal previously rejected by the Board of Regents.

“The board is looking at plans for the University libraries again because there are certain things that need to be changed and improved,” Miller said.

He said one possibility includes tearing down Woods Hall to build the new annex, which would be connected to Waterfield.

The proposal also includes plans to do several renovations to the existing building.

Renovations include a new heating and air system, new electrical system and improved handicapped-accessible bathrooms, which are currently located on the third floor of the library.

Miller said renovations to Waterfield are projected to cost between $2-3 million, with $19 million for the addition of the annex, which is considered a long-term project for the University.

He said the University does not want students to have to pay a fee for these renovations and additions, a topic which will be discussed at the Board of Regents meeting.

The proposal for a new library was put on hold by the Board of Regents in March 2012 due in part to the increased fees students would have to pay for the $69 million project.

Students would have seen a $90 initial fee increase if the proposal had passed.

Plans for the new library included study rooms, a computer lab with more than 100 work stations and a dining area for students. Waterfield would have been turned into a student services center.

Waterfield was originally intended to be a student center, similar to the Curris Center, when it was built in the 1950s.

The building was turned into a library in 1978, and has seen few changes to the building’s infrastructure since that time.

Adam Murray, dean of University Libraries, said Waterfield experiences issues with structural support, electrical system problems and issues with handicapped-accessible bathrooms for students.

“When Waterfield was turned into a library, it was never meant to house such a large amount of books or the largest computer lab on campus,” Murray said. “Also, it was not designed with an electrical system to support the heavy usage of computers, laptops and other electrical devices students have.”

The electrical system for Waterfield has not been updated since the library was renovated in 1978.

Murray also said the library was not designed to handle the heavy amount of student traffic Waterfield sees on a daily basis.

He said University Libraries continue to see an increase in the number of students using library services each year.

So far this semester, Waterfield has seen an average of 4,000 students per day.

Sept. 17 set a record for the number of students using the library in a single day with 4,300 students.

Hannah Bradley, junior from San Antonio, Texas, said she uses University Libraries at least once a week and would like to see more resources available to students.

“Although the library has not failed me yet, I think students could benefit from more resources,” Bradley said.

Murray said University Libraries should be a place where students can connect with each other and faculty members while improving their academic careers.

Said Murray: “Students should have a place where they can come to for help, stay connected, feel comfortable and succeed.”

 

Story by Rebecca Walter, Staff Writer