On Nov. 4, the Student Government Association meeting was held. During the meeting, President Stephen D. Minnis said the library is in need of renovation and discussed future plans.

Guest contributor Mary Grace Dostalik discusses the lasting values of libraries in 2019, centered around Atchison, KS.

Minnis said the renovation plans to looks similar to a combination of popular study spaces. Locations similar to the third-floor of Ferrell Academic Center, the Student Success Center, the St. Elizabeth Hall Lounge, according to President Minnis.  

Other notable additions include more study spaces for both small and large group rooms, as well as the main floor reading room, and a café style study space. The vision also includes plans for outdoor seating, a walkway, and a secure way to display the library’s rare book collection.  

Minnis also mentioned handicap accessibility is another priority.

Jeff Ellison of Ellison-Auxier Architects said the total cost of the library renovation and addition will amount to approximately $15 million. Construction will begin after sufficient funds are received from donors. Ellison said the ideal time frame for the project’s completion would be a year and a half, starting in the summertime, extending through the academic year, and into another summer.  

Steven Gromatzky, the library director, said the goal of the renovation is to create a quiet and more attractive place that encourages students to study at the library.

As the physical aspects are being reworked, so are the hours of operation.

“It closes at about 11 [p.m.]. We are going to design this so this floor [floor 1] can be open later,” Minnis said. “My dream is that it would be open till like two in the morning.” 

The construction of an annex behind Cray-Seaburg Hall will be utilized to house the library’s closed-stack collection. The library plans to reduce the amount of volumes from its current 200,000 to 50,000, which will be available in the renovated library.  

Steven Gromatzky, the library director, commented on the services offered for the library.

“We will have the same services and be available. It will just be a little different,” Gromatzky said. “We need a balance of both databases, electronic resources, and print collections.”

Gromatsky said faculty will have an important role in helping him determine which volumes remain in the open collection. Additionally, items belonging to the Abbey will remain in the open-stack collection.  

While the college plans to include many new features in the library renovation, the library will be closed once construction is underway. Minnis said that administration will have to find alternatives for classrooms and study spaces. He mentioned repurposing Benedetto’s in Cray-Seaburg Hall for a study area. 

Additionally, after construction is complete, Minnis estimates the library parking lot will lose approximately two rows of parking but hopes more parking will be picked up as the parking lot is reconfigured.  

While the project has yet to obtain funds, President Minnis plans to continue updating faculty and students as it is seen appropriate.