Texas State’s Albert B. Alkek library has not seen many renovations since its opening — the library administration and university are planning to change that.
The university hired the Boston-based Perry Dean Rogers firm to conduct a feasibility study of the library last fall. The group made four visits to the campus starting September 2011, meeting with staff and students for input.
Perry Dean Rogers estimates the library is currently undersized by 35,949 square feet. The firm projects it will be undersized by 74,935 square feet in five years and by 136,939 square feet in 10 years.
The results of the feasibility study show Alkek came up short in the number of seats available for students, learning spaces and information technology infrastructures. The library failed building codes for heating and cooling systems, lighting, stair handrails and alarm systems. Mark Freeman, project architect for Perry Dean Rogers, said the building is not unsafe, but building codes change and must be kept up with.
“The university has been growing and the library has been growing along with it,” Heath said. “We had reached the point where space was getting to be an issue.”
Renovations will be made in three phases over several years. Joan Heath, associate vice president of Alkek library, estimates the first two phases will cost approximately $14 million. Nearly $4 million will be dedicated solely to upgrading the infrastructure of the library.
The first phase of renovation includes creating an estimated $2.5 million “learning commons” on the entry-level floor of Alkek, with more multimedia technology, research facilities, new furniture and possibly a café.
“The library is not just a place where you walk in and study quietly,” Heath said. “Students are using computer technology and multimedia equipment.”
The “learning commons” area will provide students with more access to this type of technology. Lori Hughes, administrative director at Alkek, said this concept is one of many that other libraries have already embraced.
The amount of books, media files and other content in the library is increasing along with student enrollment every year, but the square footage of Alkek is not. To make more room for learning spaces and group study areas, the university plans to build a repository to house some of the lesser-used printed volumes.
According to the university campus construction website, the Alkek Library Repository is envisioned as a 13,000 square foot facility with expansion possibilities for an additional 20,000 square feet. It will include book storage, a document intake and processing area, offices and a conference room. The estimated $5.9 million project will be located at the upcoming STAR (Science, Technology, and Advanced Research) Park at McCarty Lane and Hunter Road.
Once the repository is completed, along with the first two renovation phases, the third phase can begin.
Heath said she would like to begin the planning and finalization stages of the renovation project by the next academic year, but the timeline remains undetermined until sufficient funding is received.
“Hopefully we’re going to get to do this relatively soon,” Heath said. “I think we could just improve upon (the library) so much if we did this renovation and hopefully we will get a chance to do it.”