Robert E. Kennedy Library will not be closed or renovated next year due to a lack of funding after it was previously projected to close as early as the 2019-20 school year. A $441,229 concept plan is now completed for the library and plans are moving forward to begin construction when funding becomes available.
“The timing and extent of this renovation depend entirely on the availability of funding — and at this time, the university does not have full funding for the work,” an update on the library’s renovation website reads.
A study completed in 2018 found that the renovation would cost roughly $55 million, which the university hoped to draw from the California State University (CSU), fundraising or other funding channels.
The library will now close in 2022 at the earliest, according to University Spokesperson Matt Lazier. Cal Poly has received word that funding will be provided to start the design phase of the project starting January 2020 and take up to two years.
“I’m glad,” mechanical engineering senior Sam Flood said. “I was just looking for different places to study downtown, at coffee shops, but it’s nice to know you can have the library.”
Flood said he studies in the library and was disappointed when he heard it might close.
“I was concerned where students would be studying,” environmental engineering junior Sarah Stabler said, who said she saw that prospective students were concerned on Facebook whether or not they would have a library on campus.
“I was just looking for different places to study downtown, at coffee shops, but it’s nice to know you can have the library”
The renovations are planned to take roughly a year, according to a concept plan announced May 8, and will add an adaptable glass roof, expand the 24-hour space to the entire first floor and add 1,100 seats to raise the total seat count to 3,500. The library paid architecture firm BNIM $172,104 and strategy consultant Brightspot Strategy $269,125 to design that concept plan, according to Lazier.
The library is creating a plan to outline temporary locations which would carry out library functions if the library closes, according to the website. The university will renovate Crandall Gymnasium to serve as temporary space before the library closes, according to Lazier. The university is also expected to build a new Science and Agriculture Teaching and Research Complex by 2021, adding additional study space for students.
“During this early planning phase, we want to stress the critical need for this upgrade to benefit everyone who uses Kennedy Library,” Dean of Library Services Adriana Popescu said. “We will create a flexible, modern library that embodies Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing spirit. And we will do it without sacrificing services or resources in the interim.”
Editor’s Note: This story has been edited for clarity.