November 29th, 2001
By Sara Bott. Staff Writer. The Daily Athenaeum
Students walking the stairways of the new Wise Library will notice the orange walls with blue hand railings surrounding them. Natural light will stream in from the windows on both sides of the building. Circles seem to dominate throughout the library.
These aspects are ones they are hoping will help students feel more comfortable in the library, according to Ruth Nellis, coordinator of library construction.
Students will enter through the new main University Avenue entrance into the five-story section. According to Nellis, once a student is inside the library, they will pass through security measures similar to those in the original library. Nellis said levels four and six are primarily stack levels with carrels, or study areas, that have fixed computers on them. Wireless access will be available on all floors, Nellis said.
The new section is 124,000 square-feet of new construction and 85,755 square-feet of renovations, according to a Wise Library information sheet. The overall project cost is $36 million, with funding coming from bond sales.
Nellis said the building is joined by an atrium, with a skylight in the ceiling. The front of Wise Library is being preserved for historical purposes and architectural features. According to Nellis, the old section of the library will still have a historical look, as they plan to keep the long tables and decorate with desk lamps.
According to Nellis, the atrium will be more along the lines of a lounge area for students. Frances O’Brien, Dean of West Virginia University Libraries, said they are hoping to have a beverage/snack cart available in the atrium area. They are still working on whether or not this will be possible, and students would only be able to drink or eat in the atrium area.
“You have to remember that it isn’t that we want to hassle people, it is that food and drink spilled on computers or some of our more expensive rare books can be a problem,” O’Brien said.
Students, from the sixth floor can overlook University Avenue and see as far down as the One Waterfront Place on the Monongahela River, according to Nellis.
“The architects put a lot of the student seating and student work areas along the window space,” Nellis added. She said this utilizes the natural light very well.
Nellis said there would be three elevators in the new section of the building. More stairwells have also been added. The green space in front of the Wise Library is also being preserved as much as possible, and the Scholars Walk would be integrated from its original location, Nellis added.
More group rooms and larger carrels have been added to provide different types of study areas for students. Nellis added there would be a variety of study styles integrated into the building to accommodate students’ needs better.
Technology will also be renewed in Wise Library. According Dennis Newborn, coordinator of library systems and automation, there will be 180 computers available for student use. He said the computers would be dispersed throughout the floors of the new section, so it doesn’t seem like a computer lab. Students, according to Nellis, will also be able to use equipment such as scanning and CD burning without additional charges. The computers have zip drives available to help accommodate the students’ needs, she added.
“The PCs are going to be spread around so it doesn’t look like this great big huge machine shop,” Newborn said.
The new computers, according to Newborn, are all extremely high-powered machines. There will be viewing rooms with previously unavailable technology for Wise Library, such as 42-inch high-definition television plasma monitor screens, wireless keyboards and a wireless mouse. These new innovations, Newborn said, would allow students to work on group projects that involve power points.
Newborn said the White Hall multimedia lab would be replaced with the multimedia rooms in the new section of the library. He added that students, who have Multi-Disciplinary Studies 103, or Library Research, would attend the class in the multimedia room instead of White Hall.
“It’s a quantum leap from anything we’ve ever done before,” Newborn said, in a statement released Nov. 28.