Major Renovation, Addition Planned for University Library

Major Renovation, Addition Planned for University Library
A current view of the University Library.
Students utilize the library to work on a class project.

the University Library at Cal Poly Pomona.

The new library will be equipped with wireless laptop computers, allowing students to interact, both in person and virtually.

In an era of rapid technological and educational change, it?s essential that a university library remain on the cutting-edge as a provider of information and research tools. And, with the passage of last November?s Proposition 47, California voters agreed that the future of this state rests in the quality of its education system.

For Cal Poly Pomona, Proposition 47 will help fund a $33 million-plus facelift earmarked for the University Library, recognized by many as the intellectual heart of the campus.

“This project is a dream come true,” says Harold Schleifer, dean of the University Library. “The library is much more than books?it?s a hub of educational and social interaction between students, faculty and staff. The new building will be dramatically different from the current facility, less austere and one that encourages users to collaborate more.”

Housing a collection exceeding 3 million items, the University Library was originally constructed in two phases. The four lower floors were finished in 1968, and the upper two floors were completed in 1989 to create a combined 205,000 square feet of floor space.

The current library project also consists of two phases. Phase I will feature the addition of 135,000 gross square feet of “people space” that will accommodate increasing enrollment. This space ? which will come from the enclosure of the ground floor overhang and expansion of the building?s east and west sides ? will include classrooms and other areas to support new technological applications of library research.

Phase II will include renovation of the six-story library by updating the overall environment and use of existing space. It will correct significant building deterioration and hazardous conditions in the outdated facility?asbestos, heating, air conditioning and plumbing systems. Wiring for state-of-the-art computing and telecommunications technology and improvements in Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) access are also planned in this phase. The new library will feature an indoor/outdoor café, as well as wireless laptop computers, allowing members of the campus community to interact, both in person and virtually.

Like many students, Shehla Hoda finds the library fills an essential role in not only obtaining a college degree, but also serving as a quiet study hall, a top-notch research facility and a workplace for group projects.

“The library is my resource center. It?s the most important part of the whole campus,” says Hoda, a freshman computer information systems major. “There are always so many students there waiting to use the study rooms, so renovating and extending the library to add more study and office space would be an excellent idea.”

Another aspect of the project will be to reorient the building to better position itself along the university?s “cultural spine,” says Schleifer. The library?s main entrance will be moved to the ground floor facing the University Park, with an atrium in the first floor that will create an area for people to walk through the library as opposed to around it.

Construction of the library is slated to finish by late 2006.

Historically, higher education institutions and public schools in California have relied on voter-approved bonds to pay for capital construction projects since those typically are not funded through the state?s General Fund. A majority of the funding for the $33-million addition phase will come from Proposition 47; however, renovation of the existing building ? with an anticipated $33-million pricetag, as well ? is subject to a separate bond issue or other means of funding, according to Schleifer.

Despite bond monies, the university will be required to raise additional funds and leverage support from private donors to utilize the bonds earmarked for the library project.

“A project like this is about teamwork and collaboration,” says Schleifer. “We will need supplementation from the private sector, and whatever private money we can raise will result in an enhanced facility.”

To find out more about the University Library project, including numerous naming opportunities, contact Schleifer at (909) 869-3088.