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Senate debates new library renovation

Madeline Buckley | Thursday, March 5, 2009

Student Senate discussed possible improvements and concerns regarding the renovation of the first and second floor of the Hesburgh Library at Wednesday’s meeting.

A committee is currently examining the best way for renovations to utilize the library as a study space for students, according to sophomore class president Cynthia Weber.

Weber, the only undergraduate student on the committee, said the renovation is slated for completion sometime during the 2010-2011 school year.

“The key theme in the renovation is that we want the Hesburgh Library to be a hub of academic life,” she said.

There will be a café in the library and the first floor will be more centrally oriented, Weber said. The committee has also discussed putting a “new books and popular magazines section” near the café to draw students in, she said.

O’Neill Hall senator Kevin Kimberly said aesthetics should play a major role in the renovations.

“Basically, the library is ugly and doesn’t give me any incentive to go there, especially when I live in O’Neill,” he said. “There are also no windows. I feel like I’m not even living in the world.”

Several senators said a lack of proper lighting is a problem many study areas in the library currently face, and they suggested the committee look into the issue.

“Lighting is huge,” Lyons Hall senator Catherine Flynn said. “I need bright lighting to keep me awake.”

Morrissey Hall senator Austin Holler suggested installing individual lights at study desks to remedy the lighting problem.

Several senators voiced a concern that the addition of a café in the library would create a problem with noise.

Weber said the café is supposed to draw students into the library, but an increase noise level is a concern. She said the plan includes study areas in the library that are designated for both quiet study and group study.

Student body president Bob Reish said he believes the committee should make this concern a priority and somehow make it clear which areas of the library are designated for group study and which are for quiet study when renovating.

Weber said the committee is currently in the phase of mapping out the physical space of the library and looking at different program concepts that fit with the available space.

“When you walk into the library, it will be completely different,” she said.

Badin Hall senator Kaitie McCabe asked if the whole first floor would be under construction all at one time, and if so, how much study space would be lost in the process.

Weber said she does not know when or how the construction will happen.

Ryan Brellenthin, chair of the Senate Academic Affairs Committee, asked about the possibility of a 24-hour space in the library.

“There should be a 24-hour study space,” he said. “There’s nothing worse than being kicked out of the library at two.”

Weber said a 24-hour space is a huge issue that is under consideration, but she said it presents several problems.

“It’s a safety concern, finding an architecturally safe environment for 24-hours,” she said. “Also, it has to then be staffed.”

In other Senate news

u Student body vice president Grant Schmidt said despite the demand from students, there is no chance the price of Subway footlongs will be lowered to $5 because the budget is already fixed for next year.