Students and staff will find fresh paint, new furniture and an unfinished second floor when they walk into a very different Cullom-Davis Library this fall.
“There’s a lot of things that have to be done, but the goal is to have at least the first floor totally done, except for the furniture that’s not here yet, in time for school to start,” Barbara Galik, executive director of the library, said.
The library’s renovations added several power outlets, nearly 60 power towers, more than 100 writing surfaces (including dry-erase tables and walls) and movable furniture.
“It’s very different; it’s very open,” Galik said. “The whole theme has been collaborative, mobile, flexible.”
The first floor and half of the second floor have been painted and carpeted, and they include new chairs, stools, tables and couches, many of which students can easily move.
“We tried many different kinds of furniture, so we think we have what the students will like to use,” Galik said.
To allow more space for this furniture, the shelving on the first and second floors was reduced, the first floor computer lab was condensed and the technology desk and reserve desk will now share one area.
“We really tried to make use of the windows,” Galik said. “The shelving [on the second floor] was back all the way to the windows … So we set up bistro tables so the students can take advantage of them.”
The library also improved its networking to run faster.
“We went from 25 access points in the building to 50, so there are more wireless access points and the speed is higher,” Galik said. “The network is going to rock.”
Galik said she hopes the first floor and half of the second floor will be completed by the time classes begin, but the west side of the second floor, which includes the study rooms, will not been finished until mid-September.
“We really pushed, but we ran into problems on [the second floor],” Galik said. “It took more time than we thought it would, it slowed us down, and some of the furniture was backordered.”
Galik said she does not expect a problem with seating or space with the second floor unfinished, but there will be some noise in mid-September when furniture arrives.
“The only loading dock that we have for [workers] to bring it in is in the back, unless they come in the front doors, but then it’s still going to be interrupting students trying to get in the building, so there will be that kind of disruption then,” Galik said.
Some of the old furniture from the first floor was moved to the lower level, which Galik said probably won’t be renovated for a few years.
“I talked to the president … and he said he realizes [the library] is not done,” Galik said. “He realizes that there’s still a lower level, and I said, ‘and an upper level.’”
Galik said she expects renovations to the library’s lower and upper floors to be put on hold while Bradley plans construction on a new building, the Convergence Center. Set to replace Baker and Jobst halls, this will house the colleges of business and engineering.
But Galik said she is still excited to see the library full of students once school begins.
“It’s been a real experience, and it’s been a rough summer with everything being done, but I think it looks great,” Galik said. “It’s definitely been worth it for us.”
Students can tour the library during the Activities Fair on Aug. 22.