Cal State Fullerton students can now walk from the Quad to the Pollak Library south side entrance for the first time since 1996 to enter the newly renovated first floor.
The floor officially opened Feb. 22, marking the completion of phase one of a multiyear library renovation project.
From the walls to the furniture, the color of the south side is distinguished from the predominantly monochromatic color scheme of the north side.
“Part of my goal is to get the whole building to a place where we have engaging spaces and there’s actually a use of color and art – that everything is not beige,” said Clem Guthro, dean of the Pollak Library.
In March 2014, the south wing sustained extensive damage from a 5.1 magnitude earthquake causing the closure of the first, fourth, fifth and sixth floor for repairs. The upper floors are expected to be opened in a couple years, Guthro said.
Along with the construction of the first floor’s interior, it also underwent electrical and ventilation upgrades costing $15 million, Guthro said.
The floor hosts additional study spaces for students and has numerous electrical outlets as well as an assortment of furniture designed for work or relaxation.
“We don’t have nearly enough space for students to sit down. My long-term goal is to get the seating space up to 4,000 seats. Right now, we’re at about 1,650,” Guthro said.
The TitanCard and Circulation desks were relocated from the north side to the south first floor.
It is now also home to the University Honors Program, Center for Scholars and the five campus diversity resource centers.
Sandra Perez, director of the University Honors Program, said their center is much bigger than their former space in McCarthy Hall which they shared with the Center for Scholars. Now each of the programs have their own space with added functionalities.
“It was important to make it a student-centered space. It’s a space to work, build community and to build friendships,” Perez said.
The center offers students a conference room, reading room, computers and social spaces.
“I feel like it’s encouraging a lot of learning. It’s very exciting to be somewhere new and just to see other students interact with us,” said Erica Franco, biology major in the honors program.
Christopher Rutledge, an accounting major, said the center felt aired out and appreciated having designated spaces to socialize and study.
The floor also features the campus’ first multi-stall gender-neutral bathroom, equipped with floor-to-ceiling stalls which Guthro said was done to ensure safety for students.
“(The library staff) really wanted the students to have a bathroom they felt comfortable with,” Guthro said. “If people don’t feel comfortable using that space there is a men’s room and a women’s room just down the hall.”
The African American, Asian Pacific American, Chicana/Chicano, LGBT Queer and Titan Dreamers Resource Centers are scheduled to move into their space during spring break.
By bringing these centers together on the first floor, Guthro hopes to create a space for intellect and culture.
“Since we have such a diverse campus and diverse group of students, this is a wonderful way to highlight and showcase those cultures, but also make the library a welcoming, safe and inclusive space for all students,” Guthro said.