The College erected three temporary structures on the lawn between Olin and Chalmers Memorial Library and Peirce Dining Hall in preparation for the demolition of the library. These modular units, which will be open by September, will serve as temporary offices and study spaces while the new library is built. This move is part of an effort to relocate the library’s operations — such as storing books, hosting lectures and providing places for students to work — to other areas of campus until the building reopens in summer 2020.
A total of five temporary buildings will go up, four of which are meant to replace the services the library offers to students. Three are located on South Quad while the fourth will be between Norton and Watson Residence Halls. While the building between Norton and Watson is intended only as a study space and measures 2,880 square feet, the buildings in front of Peirce are much larger — the central one measuring 5,760 square feet — and will contain a variety of features present in the library, such as offices, classrooms, computer banks and a reference desk.
“It’s trying to recreate what’s on the main floor [of the library] right now,” Amy Badertscher, vice president of library and information services, said. “Not everything, but a lot of it.” Badertscher said the school is trying to recreate the library’s balance of quiet spaces and areas where noise is permissible, so that both solitary students and study groups will find places to work. While the hours for the new buildings are not finalized, Badertscher suspects their schedule will mimic that of the current library, opening between 6 to 8 a.m., and closing at 2 a.m. Under the current plan, all four buildings will be regulated by K-card access.
The books from the library will not be stored in any of these four buildings but instead will be moved to a fifth building that is under construction near the Kenyon Athletic Center. This building will not be generally accessible to students; while students will still be able to request books through the reference desk, it will no longer be possible to browse the collection until the new library is open to the public. This temporary storage building is expected to be finished by mid-June, and the moving and organizing of books, a five-week-long process, will begin in early July.
While the College is making an effort to accommodate students through the construction of new study spaces, it also is preparing to renovate existing buildings on campus. Gund Commons will be rearranged to make the space more conducive to classwork, as will the second and third floors of Ascension Hall. Once construction on Farr Hall is complete, two of the new buildings will be used as additional workspaces until the new library opens, at which point they will be rented out to local businesses to expand the retail options at Kenyon.