Library work on schedule, opening partially delayed

The addition to Warner Library is finally on its way to completion and will be ready for use when school reopens in August. However, contrary to earlier plans, the bookstore will not be moving into the library’s basement by that time, holding up other changes in space use in Walton Hall.

Currently, construction workers are making up for the 18 weather-related delays over the winter, according to Campus Services director Rob Smith, who says that things are “on schedule, but behind schedule.”

“Every time we come up with something, we find three more things to do,” Smith said.

The bookstore’s move is now scheduled to take place in October. Current plans call for the Walton Hall store to be replaced with a new lounge, complementing the nearby Jammin’ Java. The store’s back room will become the new home of the SGA office. These changes have also been held back by the delay.

Smith gave two reasons for the delay. First, the building will not be ready for the bookstore until August 2, and it would then take at least two weeks for the space to be outfitted. The bookstore would not be ready in time for students to purchase books.

Second, the months of August and September are the bookstore’s busiest. Waiting until October means there will be less product to move.

According to library director Jim Sauer, the process as a whole is “relatively on time,” and, with the exception of some “tweakings and tunings” that need to take place, the new library will be open and fully functional for students’ return next semester.

For the remainder of this semester, students will still have access to most of the library’s functions up until May 10, when the internal renovations will begin.

“The minute you put your pen down [after finals], the library will no longer be functional,” Sauer said.

According to Smith, the inside renovations will take place “from the top down,” starting on the third floor, which will be ready for painting by May 6. The second floor, which currently contains offices that will need to be moved, will require the most extensive renovative work.

Because the library will not be operational over the summer, the libraries at Villanova, Cabrini, Rosemont, Penn State Great Valley and Immaculata will be offering their services to Eastern students. According to Sauer, students will be able to check books out from any of these libraries using their student ID.

Sauer said that this is significant, as some of the schools are making themselves available to Eastern students for the first time. Eastern’s online databases are expected to remain unaffected for the rest of the renovations.

The new addition is expected to increase the size of the library by about two-thirds. According to Sauer, it will be much more spacious and include a magnificent view from the front windows. Six new classrooms and one seminar room are being added.

In Smith’s words, the library classrooms will be “the most advanced classrooms on campus” and “completely outfitted for technology.” Some of that technology will include wireless networking and touch screen computer panels.

Along with the new classrooms, a Black History room is being added, which will eventually house a collection of 500 Black history books, donated by Mazie Hall.

The library’s completion is in sight, but Smith still sees many loose ends to be tied up.

“To sum it up,” Smith said, “it’s organized chaos.”

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