Robert E. Kennedy Library, the only functioning library on Cal Poly’s campus, will close for two years for renovations — but officials said they do not know when the project will begin.

Although planning began last year, a closure date has not been announced because funding from the state has yet to come in. However, they do not believe the construction phase of the renovation will start this year.

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Video by Kaitlyn Hoyer

Phase 1 of the renovation period, which focused on understanding the needs of the campus, was completed in May 2018. 

Brightspot Strategy and BNIM, the architect firm constructing the project, held town halls and meetings to gather student, staff and administrator feedback on the renovation.

Phase 2 will center on the planning, construction and reopening of the facility.

This phase will take more than three years, according to Kennedy Library Director of External Relations Briana Martenies.

“We are trying to be as forthcoming as possible with what we know,” Martenies said. “To the best of our knowledge, the library will not close this year.”

The planned renovations will include nine months of design work, six months of approval and moving out, 20 to 24 months of construction, and a three-month move-in period.

When the library does close, books and study spaces will be relocated.

Some students have concerns about how this might affect their study spaces and potential academic success, as well as how the lack of a library might affect the community as a whole.

“I’m worried about the educational barriers to entry that might arise during the renovation process, specifically for people who rely upon the library and its facilities for academic success, not just for students, but for multiple members of our public,” communication studies and modern languages and literatures senior Dominic Chequer said.

During the two years of construction, adjustments will be made throughout campus to accommodate for the lack of study spaces, book storage and other resources currently offered at the library. 

“Space will be more limited, but there is some really creative thinking going on in order to make sure relocation of books and study space is done intelligently,” BNIM Director of Design Steve McDowell said.

All available information regarding the renovation and future closing of the library, including a timeline and project highlights and ideas, can be found on the Kennedy Library Renovation Project website.

“We will keep the renovations website updated as often and [clearly] as possible,” Martenies said. “The best way to get any questions answered is to head there.”

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