The community is invited to Weber State University’s grand reopening celebration of the newly renovated Stewart Library, Aug. 31. A short program will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Hetzel-Hoellein Room 321, with an open house and refreshments from 3 to 5 p.m. The new dean of the Stewart Library, Wendy Holliday, also will be introduced.
“I feel grateful to arrive at this time,” Holliday said. “I am really appreciative of the thoughtfulness that went into the building design. During my job interview, I was standing in one area of the library that was flooded with light, and I thought, ‘This building is going to provide a wonderful space for students, staff and faculty to come together to do their work.’”
The $20 million, two-phase renovation required emptying every shelf and packing 35,000 boxes, which included an equivalent of 11 miles of books and shelving. It took 25 to 35 Bailey’s Moving & Storage movers, 10 hours a day, everyday for seven months, just to allow for construction.
Thanks to planning, patience, juggling and a lot of work, the library, much of its collection, and all the services remained available to the campus community throughout the 16-month project. WSU’s Facilities Management oversaw the project, VCBO Architecture drew the plans, and Okland Construction completed the renovation, which began April 2017 and was completed just in time to welcome the campus at the beginning of fall semester.
Patrons will notice new interior glass walls, raised ceilings and expansive windows and skylights, which provide a substantial amount of natural lighting.
The building now has a testing center, which will be open during library hours, allowing students testing access during evening hours and on Saturdays and Sundays. Mobile shelving has been installed throughout, including in University Archives and Special Collections. A new elevator inside the west entrance connects all three floors.
The building now has four computer classrooms, five open conference rooms, 10 group study rooms, 10 faculty research rooms and a student lounge. Renovated bathrooms and a new, efficient heating, air conditioning and ventilation system will improve comfort for library staff and patrons.
“It is very exciting to see the comprehensive retrofit we have been able to accomplish, which unites the two earlier phases of the Stewart Library into a more modernized and cohesive whole, while still respecting the original structure of the building and its central place on campus,” said Chad Downs project manager.
The Weber State Library opened in 1965 as a 72,000-square-foot facility. An addition on the south side in 1976, doubled the square footage. At that time, it was rededicated as the Stewart Library in honor of donors Donnell B. and Elizabeth Dee Shaw Stewart. Other renovations in the mid-1990s and 2005 improved interior and exterior aesthetics, accessibility, computer access and technological amenities.
During her 14 years at the library, Jamie Weeks, university archivist, has seen many changes to the building and additions to the collections.
“Stewart Library has always been a refuge, especially for those of us who love books,” she said. “The look, the feel and, most importantly, the smell of the books remain through all the changes. The joy of walking through the stacks and viewing titles that are longtime friends, continues to provide welcome solitude and easy access to the world’s greatest minds.”
For more information about the Stewart Library and its services and hours, visit library.weber.edu.
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