After a year of construction, coordination and a lot of patience, the Warner Memorial Library has finally opened its doors and introduced its new and improved library facility, the Harold C. Howard Center. Construction began in August of 2004 and was completed on July 29, 2005.
At least four years of planning went into the library before construction began, while hopes and rumors floated across the campus.
Rob Smith, director of campus services, was very pleased with the end result.
“It’s a beautiful building. The architect did a phenomenal job,” Smith said. “It is going to serve the students of Eastern well.”
The new addition increases Warner Library by 21,000 square feet and increases the seating in the library by 146 chairs. The building houses seven new classrooms that are all technologically equipped and able to hold 176 students.
“The technology is extremely advanced, far more than I think Eastern has ever had on campus,” Smith said.
The system is so advanced that a server from a remote location will be able to monitor each classroom system and keep track of problems.
New bookshelves, study rooms, faculty offices and compact shelving were also installed in the facility. The library now has more space for studying, more books and, possibly, even more faculty and student forums.
There are five new study rooms with internet access and the entire library is now equipped with wireless internet. Media materials previously stored on the first floor are now more visibly displayed on the third floor in a new room complete with a record player, television and CD stereo on which students can test materials. The third floor holds a special collections room full of antique books and bookplates. Students will now be able to use these resources that before were unavailable.
Smith is appreciative of the hard work that went into this long awaited project. “It took a lot of effort from a lot of people,” he said. “The thing about the project was coordination. All the people involved had to be coordinated to pack up, move out and take up new residence.”
The library staff took up residence in Doane over the summer during renovations.
“Thanks to the library staff for their patience and cooperation throughout this tumultuous process,” Smith said.