The demolition of the atrium that used to be the front entrance of the library likely came as a shock for students taking summer classes on the Monroe Park Campus.
The $50.8 million project is no small feat. The library website states that the final product will boast 93,000 square feet of new construction,63,000 square feet of improvements to the existing building,90 percent of the overall learning space allotted for student use.
Students can also expect many new features, including a vitrine display wall, innovative media studio, graduate student and research center and public auditorium.
The ongoing Cabell Library construction is dusty, loud and impossible to ignore, but the library staff is confident the worst of construction will be over by the time the fall semester begins in August.
“We’re trying to front-load the pain as we call it, so that it’ll be decreased by the time the fall semester rolls around,” said Dennis Clark, an associate university librarian. “This summer is going to be the most difficult summer.”
Clark said that the brunt of the construction on the first, third and fourth floors of the library will be done by the time the summer semester is over, and by fall those floors will be largely construction-free.
“The library construction is rather distracting and invasive, but thankfully the worst is predicted to be completed over the summer,” said Manon Loustaunau, a senior majoring in fashion design. “But I am rather jealous of incoming students who will get to use the library for more than just a semester,” she added.
Clark also said that the library has done its best to communicate which study spaces will be inconvenienced by the construction or noise, and is doing its best to compromise for the lost space by opening up new areas throughout the facility. For example, the fourth floor is no longer a silent floor due to the furniture being moved, exhibition cases being emptied and shelves being dismantled.
Foundation work on the new building began June 10 when workers poured the first reinforced concrete footings for the structural columns. Early next month, visitors to the third floor might notice a slightly cooler temperature while they replace the heating and air conditioning units.
Summer library hours are 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday through Thursday until the fall semester begins and the 24/7 schedule is reinstated.
For daily updates on the latest library construction news visit http://www.library.vcu.edu/about/news/.