Nash Library getting major makeover

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Gannon University has big plans for Nash Library. Open spaces, increased accessibility and more study spaces are in the future for the library.
Three informational feedback sessions pertaining to the library renovations were held in the Stuebler Room in the Waldron Campus Center Tuesday.
Students, staff and faculty members were encouraged to attend the sessions to see what was planned for the new library and to give their feedback on the designs.
The first two sessions were geared toward staff and faculty members and the last was geared toward students.
Shelane Buehler from Buehler & Associates and Mark Freeman from Perry Dean Rogers Partners Architects are working in conjunction with Gannon faculty and staff to design and produce a more modern version of Nash Library, which hasn’t seen any major changes since the building was built in 1973.
Freeman said that the goal was to really modernize the library and create more open spaces and utilize natural lighting as much as possible.
“We really just looked at the building as if it were empty,” Freeman said.
Ken Brundage, Nash Library director, is on the project team and is advocating for the students who use the library and the staff who work in it.
“I’m making sure that we’re getting the library that we all need,” Brundage said. “Once we solidify the overall look and feel of the building, then we’ll get down to the details.”
Brundage said Gannon hired an architecture firm in 2011 to perform a feasibility study to come up with an idea of what the possibilities might be for the building and how much it would cost.
This past summer, the university hired another architecture firm to use the info from the feasibility study and move forward with actual plans.
The team used a mix of old and new feedback to create concept sketches that were shown at the sessions.
One of the biggest changes to the library will be the demolition of the current entrance and the addition of two entrances – one on West Sixth Street and one on West Seventh Street.
There will also be close to triple the amount of study rooms available for student use. Currently, there are 17 study rooms in the library. The team aims to have anywhere from 40 to 50 in the finished library.
The STEM Center and the Writing Center will be moved from Palumbo Academic Center to the basement of the library. There will also be larger study rooms and a general study area for students to use.
The first floor will boast a café that is expected to go in the general area of the current entrance, with a patio that is only accessible through the library.
The second floor will mainly be utilized by the library’s collection of books and a sizeable portion of the study rooms.
The third floor will be modeled after a more formal reading room. There are also talks of installing a green roof to add aesthetic to the roof and provide a learning opportunity for students.
The renovations are estimated to cost anywhere between $12 million and $18 million.
Construction is currently anticipated to start sometime in July, with the hope that it will be finished in fall 2017.
Brundage said that plans for where the library will be headquartered during the renovations are in the works and are close to being finalized.
“There are no existing buildings on campus that could accommodate the collections and study spaces,” Brundage said. “But hopefully there will be an announcement in the next couple of weeks.”
Buehler said that they are excited to finalize the designs.
“We’re certainly trying to make the most of the budget,” she said. “This is your building. We want to make it as accessible as possible and something that everybody will love.”

SAMANTHA GRISWOLD

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