Library Renovations to Begin Construction Spring Semester

In addition to the brand new Starbucks, students can expect to see even more renovations coming to the Mortensen Library.
Norman Young, the Associate Vice President of Facilities, in charge of Planning and Management, says that “We had thought for quite some time that the library [needed renovations]. The way the library has changed, the conditions of the library need to be upgraded….It’s a primary academic building. When you’re in a higher education institution, the library’s a pretty important building that has to get done.”
Starting in 2012, Facilities made a master plan for the library renovations, which included input from students, faculty and staff. The master plan, which was deemed too expensive, was split up into phases, with Phase One beginning construction this school year.
Phase One will include a two-story atrium addition to the back of the building, which will extend towards the Hog River. The atrium will include a glass wall that will allow more natural light into the library and a better view of the river and foliage. In addition to the atrium, renovations will be done to the bathrooms and carpeting in the library and new lighting will be added to the building.
“The layout is going to be a more open space with less book stacks,” says Young,
“…and there will be more seating areas. We’re going to add at least a couple hundred more seats.”
Young says that the new space will also allow for more C-Pods, stations with large computer screens in which groups can work together.
Facilities plans to begin ‘Phase One’ during the Spring Semester, starting with construction of the atrium, and will continue for the next year. Throughout the construction of the atrium, the rest of Phase One will begin, with sections of the library being closed at a time for new carpeting to be put in.
While the atrium is being built, a wall, insulated for weather and sound will be put up as to not disrupt any students working in the library. Young says that the parts of the renovations that could disrupt student life the most will be done during the summer or during breaks.
“Things like renovating bathrooms usually mean that you have to shut the water off,” says Young, “We’re going to upgrade the elevator. That might mean we have to take power down in that area, or if we do lighting, that means the power will also have to go off. You can’t do that when someone’s in the building.”
The library renovation will be paid using $7 million from a $12 million dollar bond, along with an additional $5 million raised by Facilities.
In addition to the library, Gengras Student Union will also be renovated in the future, using the $5 million left over from the $12 million bond.