Fenwick Library to double in size with new addition

Construction on Fenwick Library will begin this fall. (photo courtesy of  Shepley Bulfinch)
Construction on Fenwick Library will begin this fall. (photo courtesy of Shepley Bulfinch)

Beginning this fall, construction will begin on an addition to Fenwick Library that doubles the size of the existing facility.

“We’re hoping to start late fall on the site-work itself,” said Brian Snyder, project manager for the addition.

Fenwick Library, originally built in 1967, is currently over 140,000 square feet. The addition will add another 150,000 square feet to what is already in place.

The addition will wrap around the south, east and west sides of the existing tower. Construction will focus on providing additional space and facilities for research and project collaboration. It will also aim to further integrate the library with the Johnson Center Library.

In the 2007 master plan, the university laid out initial plans for the addition.

“The focus of the expanded and renewed Fenwick Library will be centered on the development of a Research Commons,” read the master plan. The Research Commons is envisioned to be a place for scholarship and the gateway to in-depth research from which a user can consult with and be advised by librarian subject specialists.”

The building will be designed to LEED silver environmental standards. The United States Green Building council (USGBC) creates a list of criteria that new buildings must meet in order to be receive LEED certification. The Fenwick building will include a roof garden and special windows to naturally regulate heat.

“There will be new sidewalks all around the building,” said Snyder. Several landscape renovations will also be made along the sidewalks.

For the past few weeks, parts of the library have been fenced off and construction crews have been conducting what is called “pit testing.”

“Basically what that does is verify the depth of the utilities,” said Snyder. “There are a lot of utilities we have to relocate. That will be going on for the first six months for the project.”

Over the summer, two trailers that were located behind Fenwick were removed, leaving a large open space.

“[The open grass] will be part of a staging area for construction,” said Snyder. The rest of the space is set apart for construction of a new dorm building.

The price of the addition is set at $57,369,000, as part of the university’s capital outlay budget.

“We’re hoping to be done in January 2015,” said Snyder. However, he added that the deadline could easily change as construction progresses.

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