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Library renovation is worth the wait, dean says

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The $24 million, two year CSU-Pueblo library renovation is still underway and will be worth the wait, said Rhonda Gonzales, dean of the library since 2004.

The library is expected to be complete in February 2011 and expected occupancy will be in late March 2011.

“We’re still on track,” Gonzales said. “We’ve been within budget and on target.”

The renovation of the library, built in 1963, was long overdue, Gonzales said.

“There were structural, cosmetic and functional issues with the building,” Gonzales said. “It had been on the campus master plan for renovation for some time.

Fence surrounding the library to prevent students from entering the contruction site. Photo by Ye Ming

“We (the library staff) had been waiting for this for years. We were so excited when, finally, it became a reality,” Gonzales said. “We feel really fortunate that we were able to get the funding secured.”

The renovation, which started in January 2009, is in the second phase of the process: the demolition and refurbishing of the library wing.

The wing, which housed the library collection during the construction of the library tower, will now be accessible from the library tower, as it wasn’t before the renovation. The library collection, is now in its permanent shelving in the library, Gonzales said, moving the project one step closer to being complete.

The library renovation planning began a year and a half before the library closed for construction. Some of the most important factors in consideration for the remodel were the academic support and tangibility for the students, Gonzales said.

“We tried to design it so it supports a lot of different learning styles and academic needs,” Gonzales said.

New additions to the library include 17 study rooms, a 40-student classroom and a 75-student lecture hall. There will also be plenty of new windows for maximum light capacity and the refurbished balconies, which will be enclosed in glass, will also be open to students as study or hang-out areas, Gonzales said.

The new library will now house the Student Academic Services, which includes the Writing Room and the General Education Tutoring Center. It will also be home to IT, the Instructional Technology Center, as well as the TRiO Program, which includes Upward Bound, the Veteran’s Upward Bound Program and the Southern Educational Opportunity Center, which will be in the attached library wing.

The first floor of the new library was designed to be interactive and social, Gonzales said. It will be a large computer lab with the IT help desk, the First Year Program and the coffee shop.

Side view of the Library construction. Photo by Ye Ming

The second floor was meant to be more research and study intensive, she said. It will house student support, like the Student Academic Services. The next four floors will be much quieter and much more of a traditional library setting, Gonzales said.

“Everybody will be able to find something they like,” Gonzales said.

The interior design, in part, will be aided by the CSU-Pueblo community, Gonzales said. Soon, they will allow faculty and students to view the furniture pieces that have made it into the finals of their selections. Students and faculty will be able to view the samples on a tour and give feedback on the furniture.

The library, which is planned to have a grand opening in the spring semester, will be a great new experience for students, Gonzales said.

“I hope students will be excited,” Gonzales said. “There was a lot of work put into the design of this project and it will be very adaptable to student needs. And, of course, it’s going to be really beautiful.”

For more information about the library renovation, contact Rhonda Gonzales at 549-2315.