Gelman's third floor to see expanded study space

by Katherine Rodriguez

Graduate student Md Ehraz Refayet sits in a sample piece of furniture that may be added to Gelman Library during renovations that will begin this summer and end in 2014.
Media Credit: Bryan Hoechner | Hatchet Photographer
Graduate student Md Ehraz Refayet sits in a sample piece of furniture that may be added to Gelman Library during renovations that will begin this summer and end in 2014.

Study space will emerge on Gelman Library’s third floor after spring break as the University gets a head start on long-awaited renovations to the 39-year-old structure.

Forty percent of the periodicals in circulation on the third floor will be moved to an off-site storage facility in Upper Marlboro, Md. to make room for study areas, University Librarian Jack Siggins said.

The space will not include new furniture, but will bring desks and chairs from around the library to reduce crowding and costs, Gelman Library spokeswoman Anne Ward said. With construction on the horizon for the ground floor of Gelman, the library has made an effort to clear some operations and collections out of the building while spreading out seating.

“The University is trying to juggle all these requirements. There’s a real crunch for space,” Siggins said. “We’re keeping up our pressure as much as possible. We’ve got our foot in the door.”

Ward said she was unsure exactly how many tables would make up the third floor space.

The extra tables will complement the new study zones and laptop bars already planned for the updated entrance floor, which will also include workstations and several multi-purpose rooms.

The University’s $16 million upgrade to Gelman’s entrance floor will shift the building's entrance up to the second floor through Kogan Plaza. The design plan was solidified in January when the University hired the firm Cox Graae + Spack Architects.

The library is “looking to create more informal, mobile study spaces” with the entrance floor renovations, Siggins said, pointing to the Mount Vernon Campus’ newly renovated Ames Hall as a model for open study areas. The third floor will also not include cubicles.

The University will begin construction on the library this summer, and the renovations are slated for completion by 2014.

Aria Varasteh, Gelman Library’s student liaison, has led a “Help Transform Gelman” campaign that has gathered student feedback on library services and space through surveys and town halls.

“In a time where everyone in the University is complaining and looking to the Marvin Center for more space, Gelman is beating them to the punch,” Varasteh said.

To create what Siggins called a “one-stop shop” for student academic needs in the final design plans, Student Technology Services representatives and the research help desk recently joined the circulation desk on the entrance floor. The move may become a permanent fixture once plans are “locked in” at the end of this semester, he said.

This article was updated on March 5, 2012 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet incorrectly reported that books would be moved off the third floor to make room for study space. In fact, periodicals will be moved, not books. Also, due to an editing error, The Hatchet associated Jack Siggins’s comments about informal study space with the new third floor space. In fact, Siggins was referring to the space on the entrance level, which will be renovated by 2014.

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