GW seeks donors for Gelman renovations

Correction appended

The University is in talks with several philanthropists to secure a large-scale donation for renovations of the first floor of Gelman Library.

Jennifer Broome, the new director of development for the library, addressed the widespread student belief that the University does not support the aging building during Tuesday night’s Student Association meeting, saying that administrators are taking student concerns seriously and are working toward securing the funds to make improvements to the building.

“The University supports the library but we don’t have infinite resources,” Broome said. “They help us maintain where we’re at, but to get to the next step we need philanthropy.”

Broome said she could not comment on the name of the potential donors, how long the conversations with the donors have been happening, the time frame to solidify a plan with one donor, or how much money the University hopes to receive to start renovating.

“I am not at liberty to discuss ongoing negotiations with potential donors, but we are in communication with several at this time,” Broome said.

Broome said she has noticed an increased demand for change in recent weeks, and that she has taken it seriously as a call to move forward with the plans.

University President Steven Knapp said in late October that Gelman is a priority for his office but offered no specific plans for funding the renovations.

Steven Lerman, the provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, restated that it is a priority both within his office and the University as a whole to renovate Gelman to suit student needs. Lerman said he expects renovations for the first floor to be finished before the Science and Engineering Complex, slated for completion in late 2014 or early 2015, is built.

Lerman said, however, the plans are still being figured out regarding the building.

“At this point, we are preparing to select an architect,” Lerman said. “Hence, we do not have a full scope or cost estimate for the project?at this time.”

Lerman said due to privacy issues involved with selecting a donation to the University, he would not comment on the nature of the donor process.

“We’re building some steam this year,” Broome said. “When I came six months ago, we were stalled but I’ll let you know that we are in conversations with very large donors and I hope that we can get started on that soon.”

Lerman said the University is also in talks with various student leaders in order to find out exactly what people want from the building.

“We?are working with the leadership of the Student Association to create a?student advisory?committee for the project and plan to have similar advisory groups from the faculty and alumni,” Lerman said.

Student Association President Jason Lifton said he is happy to see the administration jump-starting efforts to raise money for the renovations, and that he looks forward to setting up a student group to help flesh out ideas for the building.

“The intent of the advisory group will be to narrow down exactly what we feel the University needs to focus on with the renovations,” Lifton said.

This article was updated on Nov. 15, 2010 to reflect the following changes:
Due to an editing error, The Hatchet said the Science and Engineering Complex would be finished by 2012. This is incorrect. The SEC is slated to be finished by late 2014 or early 2015.

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