The original 1923 Stewart Library is a natural limestone building and the 1960’s Annex addition is constructed of cast in place flat slab concrete. In early 2011, mechanical infrastructure problems rendered the Library unfit for use. An abbreviated set of services has been temporarily relocated with in the lounge of the Student Center.
Murray Associates Architects was commissioned to provide a Master Plan to renovate the entire building, including restoration of the Grand Reading Room, the original interior of the 1923 original building and to either raze or transform the Annex. The original building will undergo a complete renovation including the exterior, new infrastructure systems, light fixtures, finished and modifications to the gallery railing system to allow unobstructed accessibility to the stacks.
The restored Library will also respond to how the students use the facility by providing access to services such as the Academic Support Center, study rooms, a café, lounge, art gallery, student store and a new Learning Commons within the expanded library. This was accomplished by utilizing zones for staff, support, computing, collections, classrooms and the public. This project responds to the changing education model, which establishes the foundation for lifelong learning.
This project will also allow students to use this library as a touch down point between classes and for socialization. The library will become a new and vibrant destination center of Wilson’s campus, reinforced by the introduction of a pedestrian Student Quad, which physically connects the adjacent academic buildings. All due care was exercised in order to maintain and address contextual appropriateness with forwardness of thinking, “Common Sense Sustainability”, technology, security, materials, lighting, and furniture. We anticipate the Library’s use to increase, as the renovated Library will become more of a student hub on campus for both the day and evening students.