Some Ohio State students were probably surprised when they walked into the 18th Avenue Library last week to discover the entire first floor, including the TerraByte Café, gone, with just a small circulation desk in its place.
The library, which is open 24/7, is currently undergoing a $1.9 million renovation requiring the temporary closing of the first floor, removal of the first floor computers and temporary closing of the TerraByte Café, according to the OSU Libraries Blog and OSU Administration and Planning spokeswoman Lindsay Komlanc.
The renovated library is expected to “be more comfortable and is easier to navigate,” according to the blog.
Some specific changes to the first floor include an electric fireplace with additional lounge space, the addition of a second entrance to the library on the north side of the building and an increase in the amount of seating.
The second, third and fourth floors, as well as the basement, of the library are still open and available to students.
Komlanc said the renovation is addressing several problem areas.
“The first floor space of the 18th Ave Library is heavily used by students and faculty and the finishes, furniture and layout were all in need of updates. The first floor also receives a significant amount of traffic, so the project is creating a new entrance to the building along 18th Avenue to help make traffic flow more efficient and make the building more accessible,” Komlanc said in an email.
The renovation was not decided upon on a whim – for major renovations, Komlanc said the university uses a capital planning process to plan for university needs over a 15-year period in the future.
“It is a comprehensive approach and is intended to enable a full assessment of issues and opportunities, linkages among potential projects and efficient solutions for meeting multiple needs,” Komlanc said.
Komlanc said capital needs are assessed by their alignment with the university’s strategic objectives and financial impacts.
Some students have had positive reaction to the renovations.
“This library is great because it is open 24/7. I live off-campus, so when I come to the library at night I expect to stay all night. I prefer to sit and study here because the library provides a better environment than my own home. So making the library more comfortable does not sound like a bad idea to me at all,” said Ashok Ramanathan Premanathan, a first-year graduate student in industrial engineering.
However, some students feel more inconvenienced than excited.
“It’s great that Ohio State is always trying to innovate for its students, but it definitely comes at a cost. Although it will be nice to have more seating on the first floor, it comes at a huge inconvenience for the first semester,” said Kate Windnagel, a second-year in business-economics and international studies. “We should be thinking about utility when it comes to the library, not necessarily the style and looks.”
The TerraByte Café will reopen on Sept. 16, according to a sign posted inside of the 18th Avenue Library, and Komlanc said construction will be completed before Spring Semester 2014.
The library was formally known as the Science and Engineering Library, or the “SEL,” before it was renamed the 18th Avenue Library last winter.