Upcoming library renovations will be one for the books

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Progress is alive and well on campus – you can tell just by looking at it.

Next on the administrative to-do list: the libraries.

In the coming months, both Dana Porter and the Davis Centre can look forward to major renovations.

The students who use the libraries have much to look forward to as well, according to Project Manager Alex McCulloch.

In a move which McCulloch says will prepare the facilities for change in the coming years, work on both areas is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

The shift in Dana Porter hopes to first tackle the issue of staff space.

Of the renovation process, McCulloch said that initial progress on the fifth floor will allow for the needed shift to begin work on the third.

At the project’s completion, a majority of offices from the third floor will have been shifted onto the fifth, which is to be officially designated as an employee-only area.

These changes will free up the third floor for enlarged and improved student study spaces.

Prominent among the many improvements which can be expected upon the project’s completion is a large teaching lab which, during off-hours, will be made available for student use.

When all is said and done, Dana Porter will boast three mixed-use lounge areas, numerous intimate group study rooms and a silent reflection/prayer space on the seventh floor.

Changes at the Davis Centre are expected to be even more dramatic.

As construction crews tear down both the East wing washrooms and out-dated typing cubicles, the facility will be born anew with larger washrooms, the likes of which will be made universally available.

Unfortunately, said McCulloch, the updates will result in a slight reduction to current study space.

In place of the ten existing study rooms, after renovations are complete, there will stand only five.

These five, however, are to be an improvement over the previous spaces and, complete with a new lounge in the building’s front foyer, lost space will be offset by comfortable mixed space elsewhere in a more private portion of the facility.

Of the designs, McCulloch stated that all decision-making was based upon feedback sourced directly from the student body, the likes of which yielded an overwhelming demand for the improvement of facility washrooms.

There is no doubt – where there is growth, there are growing pains and students are to expect some noise in both facilities throughout the coming months.

However, campus space planners were quick to assure McCulloch that, despite the upcoming construction, there will be plenty of study space available campus-wide to accommodate for space lost in the short-term.

As life on campus becomes increasingly digital, the renovations will assist in  transitioning the libraries as they strive to keep pace with the needs of an ever-evolving student body.

“We are very much looking forward to the refresh of our public spaces,” said McCulloch.

He hopes that students too look forward to making use of the spaces in the near future and for years to come.

On the current schedule, students can look forward to the completion of all Dana Porter-based work near the conclusion of the 2017 academic year.

Until further notice, the spaces are not yet closed to student use.

Photo by Anoja Parameswaran
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