Pollak Library will showcase its upgrades as early as November

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(David Marshel / Daily Titan)

The south wing of Pollak Library’s first floor is expected to open in early November.

Though renovations of the south wing have experienced many project delays, most recently due to fire marshals being called to Northern California to address wildfire damage, there was extra time to rethink the library’s use of space.

“The building as a whole is about 300,000 square feet. It’s a big building,” said Clement Guthro, Ph.D., dean of the Pollak Library. “We just need to use our space a little more efficiently, and we certainly need some upgrades … My goal as part of the renovations going forward is to get us up to 4,000 seats.”

Guthro said the library has just over 1,800 seats, so the renovations will help reduce the amount of students having to study on the floor. Everyone will be able to enter the south wing through glass doors that open out to the central Quad, an access point not used since 1995.

Other upgrades may include adding more electrical outlets for student use, but Guthro said a lot will depend on whether or not there is enough power in the building.

As the latest phase of the long-awaited project nears completion, previously displaced departments are preparing to migrate back into the upgraded space.

Inside the library’s new open space on the first floor, students will find a study area for 80 people that will be surrounded by the offices of TitanCard, Circulation Notices, the Center for Scholars and the University Honors Program.

“I think it’s an amazing opportunity for our students on campus,” said Deanna Merino-Contino, director of the Center for Scholars. “The open space is going to be inviting for students to come in and be comfortable and have an environment where they can sit and have a study group. The library will be the living room of the campus.”

The Asian-American, African-American, LGBTQ, Titan Dreamer and Chicana/o Resource cultural centers are scheduled to fill the remaining offices late January 2018. In February, President Mildred García will hold an official grand opening ceremony to welcome students.

“(The first floor) will provide an opportunity to be in a living, learning space that’s bright and vibrant,” Merino-Contino said. “A lot of thoughtful design and detail went into (the library) for the open concept. They’ll really feel at home.”

Guthro said continuation of the project may begin as early as summer 2018. Before renovations can begin on floors four, five, and six, the university is required to install 105 windows to satisfy modern state building codes.

The next phase of upgrades will cost close to $20 million.

“It will take some significant resources,” Guthro said. “At this point, the plan for the sixth floor is to relocate University Archives and Special Collections and the Center for Oral and Public History. Likely, the fourth and fifth floors are going to be a combination of group study rooms, book stacks and open study space.”

Guthro hopes that all library renovations will be completed within the next two years.

“That would be my ideal goal,” Guthro said. “Maybe we’ll see some work in the fall of 2018.”

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