Gelman fails to fundraise for upgrade

Planned large-scale renovations to Gelman Library’s first floor are currently on hold because the library has only raised $150,000 of the $5 million needed for the project, the University librarian said this week.

The $5 million project will be funded entirely by donations, but in the last six months of fundraising, only $25,000 has been raised, University Librarian Jack Siggins said.

“It’s at a standstill,” Siggins said. “It’s been that way for some time.”

The design for the full renovations includes several small group study areas, large desks with computers, and electronic panels with campus news and information.

Gelman is planning to use a portion of that $150,000 already raised for an “information commons,” Siggins said, to entice donors to help bring the entire remodel to fruition.

The information commons will include a portion of the features the comprehensive remodeling project has, like personal workstations, new software and reconfigurable furniture.0

And while fundraising has been difficult, library administrators said they will continue to try to raise money for the project.

“We have been focusing our fundraising efforts on seeking major gifts, which will most quickly allow us to get started with the renovation. At the same time we are very pleased when we receive smaller donations,” Susan Hyatt, the development director for the library, said in an e-mail.

Hyatt said the library has worked with the Parents Campaign, a fundraising drive that focuses on GW parents, to promote the project and has publicized animation of the completed first floor renovations to attract potential donors.

The University, which Siggins said is focused on other priorities, is not providing funding for the first floor renovations, but several other library renovations with different sources of funding will proceed.

Siggins said Gelman has received “separate funding from the University to improve wireless connectivity on the first floor,” which will take place over winter break.

Remodeling of the seventh floor and construction of a research center dedicated to labor unions, an unrelated project funded by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, is scheduled to be finished by the summer.

Additionally, nearly 500 outlets were installed in Gelman over the summer, The Hatchet reported last month. That project was funded by the University, Siggins said.

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