Archive for Wednesday, March 6, 2002

Renovation of Collins still on schedule

March 6, 2002

Collins Library has reached the halfway point.

Renovations to Baker University's library, which began in September of 2001, should be completed in November, said Bonnie Postlethwaite, Baker's Director of Information Services.

"The weather this fall was a God send," Postlethwaite said. "So basically they're saying they're right on schedule."

She said the plans are to have everything moved into the new library over winter break.

"It's real important to us they stay on target," she said. "We have a very compressed time to get moved in by January 2003."

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

"That renovation wasn't very extensive," she said.

The library's current $6.3 million renovation will increase the size of the current 38,000-square foot building by 15,000-square feet. It will give it a new look both inside and outside, Postlethwaite said.

"Everything's going to be updated," she said. "We're making it more accessible to everybody."

She said the bottom floor will be more technology oriented and contain two computer classrooms complete with 24 computers each. Also included in the bottom floor will be an open study space and the learning resource center.

The top two floors will make up the actual library, which will include group study rooms, an additional classroom, an audio visual room and a music listening room.

"Like any good library there will be a mix of books and journals as well as an electronic collection," Postlethwaite said.

The outside of Collins Library is also getting a new look, she said.

"Visually from the outside it will be a lot better," she said.

Until the library renovations are completed, students, teachers and other patrons are having to go to Mabee Hall gym to find the book or journal they are looking for.

Kay Bradt, Director of Library Services, said there have been a few inconveniences with the temporary library set up, but not as many as expected.

"There are definitely some inconveniences," she said. "But I think people have been pretty surprised it's as nice as it has been."

There are nights, she said, especially Tuesdays, when the library becomes crowded with students who are studying and space becomes scarce.

But Bradt said one of the biggest problems patrons have experienced have been the closed stacks of books.

"Not being able to get their own stuff has been a big inconvenience," she said. "Everything is in closed stacks."

She said most of the inconvenience doesn't fall on the patrons.

"There are probably more inconveniences for the staff than for the people that come in," she said. "We have to get everything. It takes us time."

Library deliveries have also been a problem, she said.

"It's an awkward building to even be in," she said. "They have to wind their way through to find the elevator, which is hard to find."

But Bradt said she expects things to be a little better during the spring semester.

"We've sort of settled in," she said. "It's become more routine."

But library staff and patrons will only have to endure the temporary set up for a little less than a year now.

"They're right on target to finish on time," Postlethwaite said.

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