Library Nears Completion

Library Nears Completion

Peggy Collins

Since July of last year, the Move-In Planning Committee has met each week in order to establish a plan for the opening of the new Case Library and Center for Information Technology. The committee is comprised of members of the library staff, including University Librarian and Professor in the University Libraries Joanne Schneider, Chief Information Technology Officer David Gregory, Associate Provost Trish St. Leger, Information and Technological Services (ITS), Campus Safety, faculty, Communications and students.

“This committee has the responsibility of creating an implementation plan for when the construction ends,” St. Leger said. “Once construction is complete and the building is turned over to Colgate, lots of work must be done before patrons can use it as a functioning library. We’re committed though to making sure students and faculty have all the resources they need throughout this transition period.”

The committee’s main concern is how much of the building can be made available to students and when this will happen.

According to Schneider, construction on Levels One through Four should be finished by the end of January. However, this date is tentative, as it depends on several factors including weather. In a few weeks, all of the library should be enclosed. However, even then the library must dry out and finish work must be done to the interior.

At that point, there will be carpeting but nothing else inside the new Case. Over the following six weeks, the committee has planned for the installation of shelving, furniture and network switches for IT. Some library and ITS staff will move in mid-February and the public staff offices will move over spring break. During spring break, the circulation desk, the reserves collection and the reference collection and the reference desk will be moved from Case Library @ JCC.

Levels One through Four contain mostly study rooms. Level One has audio and video production studios, as well as multimedia production stations for individuals and groups.

Levels Two, Three and Four hold large reading rooms with tables and chairs, including the famous green overstuffed chairs.

Level Five of the library will not be ready for patron usage until the after the spring term. A cafe, computers, a first-year seminar classroom, a reading room and other study spaces will be located on this floor.

The Library Automated Storage and Retreival System (LASR) will not be unloaded until the end of the semester so that materials will remain available to students and not be in transit. In addition, the reference and reserve collections will be closed over spring break. Access through Cooley, the Clark room and LASR will remain available. There will be no disruptions to the digital databases or network.

The tentative opening date for the new Case is Sunday, March 18 at 10:00 a.m. After this, the library will resume its regular hours. Once the library opens, requests through LASR should take approximately 10-12 minutes at the circulation desk. The committee plans to send a message to the Colgate community in early December, providing an update on the library.

“We have been cautious with communication because we did not want to set up false expectations,” St. Leger said. “But I think it’s safe to say that every week gives us more and more confidence in our ability to successfully execute our plan.”

Demolition and reconstruction of the library began in September 2005. Project Manager Vito Bolognone provided an update on the construction. On the east side, the exterior is finished, including all windows and railings. The arched opening has been completed, as well as the stairs and the parking lot. Landscaping around the area is still necessary.

The side of the library facing College Street is approximately 85 percent complete. The west side is about 90 percent completed, lacking only the South corner.

The interiors of Levels One through Four are nearly completed. Level Five’s pre-cast concrete is in and its exterior is about 15 percent complete.

There have been no safety problems, as noted by the sign at the construction site, which boasts of over 208,000 man-hours of safe labor. However, normal problems involved in construction have occurred. Construction crews have been working overtime, averaging about 55-60 hours per week. On average, there are 100-120 workers on site each day. On January 21, construction will turn the library over to Colgate. The library and ITS staff are excited to have this happen.

“We really want students to feel like it is their place,” Schneider said.