Archive for Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Renovations complete on Collins Library

December 31, 2002

The wait is almost over.

Collins Library has been closed for nearly a year and a half, but it's only a matter of days before it's open once again.

The final stages of the renovations to Baker University's library, which began in September of 2001, are nearly complete. Bonnie Postlethwaite, Baker's Director of Information Services, said the plan is to have the library open by Jan. 24, in time for the start of the spring semester.

Postlethwaite said it's just a matter of installing furniture, equipment and computers before the books and materials can be moved from the temporary library at Mabee Hall to the newly renovated Collins Library.

"We'll be very happy to be in here," she said.

But not everything will have to wait until Jan. 24. She said students will have an opportunity to use the lower level of the library for the inter-term session beginning Thursday.

Until now, the library, which was built in 1960, has only been renovated once, in 1980.

The recent $6.3 million renovation not only updated the facilities, but increased the size of the former 38,000-square foot building by another 15,000-square feet.

"We're really proud of it," Postlethwaite said.

The bottom floor of Collins will be more technology oriented and contain two computer classrooms complete with 24 computers each and a multi-media room.

But one of the added features Postlethwaite said students should appreciate is the commons and study area, complete with computers and study carrels, that will be open 24 hours a day.

"Students have been asking for this for a long time," she said.

The top two floors will make up the actual library. The middle floor will house the reference collections, government documents, microfilm, circulation and reference desks, staff offices and study rooms.

The third floor will contain the book stacks as well as a music listening room and a lounge area.

The long stained glass windows library users became accustomed to seeing can no longer be found in their original place in the library. Instead, the panes of stained glass were separated into smaller panels and can be found throughout the top two floors.

Those familiar with the old library will also notice the main entrance is now on the northeast side of the library. The former Eighth Street entrance will now be used primarily for the Quayle Bible collection.

Once Collins Library is completely open, Postlethwaite said several events, including tours and the official dedication May 17 during the spring 2003 commencement ceremonies, to show off the renovated library will take place.

"We want the community to feel comfortable coming in again," she said. "We want to get people used to the fact that this is an intellectual center."

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