The Newton Gresham Library’s first significant construction project since it’s opening in 1968 is set to begin this semester with a price tag of over $15 million.
Construction on the library will start April 13 and continue until at least December, with plans to have everything completely done the following spring. The renovations will be contained to the existing structure, shaping it into a more accessible space, providing more areas for collaborative work, classroom spaces, individual study areas as well as full incorporation of the Academic Success Center into the second floor.
The first floor will be transformed from hallways and offices into open study and collaboration zones. The second floor will be made into a patron-service and research centered floor with a full-service Starbucks.
Executive Director of Library Services Eric Owen spoke about the changes students will experience in their usage of the building during construction.
“The library is committed to maintaining regular hours and services during the renovation,” Owen said. “Unfortunately, some noise during construction is unavoidable. However, the library is working with the contractors to minimize disruption for students.”
The construction will be split into four phases to lessen disruptions. Spaces will be available for students throughout renovations, likely on the third and fourth floors. Owen plans to pause construction during finals and continue throughout the year with substantial completion by December.
The construction will impact only the entrances of the building and the first and second floors.
“While we would love to update the entire building, we also recognize the need to be good stewards of the available budget,” Owen said. “The current approach seeks to focus funding to maximize the positive impact for students by transforming the two entry floors of the library.”
The total estimated project cost is $15.2 million, with $7 million of that money coming from the Texas State University System Revenue Bonds, $8 million coming from Higher Education Funds and $200,000 from auxiliary funds.
“My hope is that the renovation will make the NGL a more accessible and useful academic environment for students, and as a result student usage of the facility will increase,” Owen said.
The incorporation of the ASC into the building is a major feature of the renovations. The ASC provides supplemental instruction, writing and mathematics tutoring and hosts workshops throughout the year to help students with things like time management, note-taking, reading comprehension, exam strategies and more.
“Students who come seeking services from one unit will have more opportunity to discover services provided by ASC tutors, mentors, as well as the First Year Experience office and the EURECA center for undergraduate research, leading to greater visibility and benefit from these diverse campus services,” Owen said.
Campus libraries all over have been working to keep up with the ever-evolving needs of college students. By incorporating more modern amenities, the library follows an evolutionary trend in universities expanding from just a repository for books and documents into an academic and scholarly hub.
NGL intends to keep students updated throughout the renovation process.
“Information concerning the phases of the renovation, including the areas which will be affected, and the duration of potential disruptions, will be shared and updated regularly on a renovation webpage on the NGL website, as well as signage in the library,” Owen said.
For more information about NGL, visit their webpage at library.shsu.edu.