Steve McDowell of BNIM | Courtesy Photo

Robert E. Kennedy Library is making plans to undergo renovations and they want student feedback. Planned to be completed in 2022, the renovation is estimated to cost $55 million funded by the State of California, according to Project Manager Stacy White.

In conjunction with discussions held March 1, continued feedback is being taken on the library’s website, with more workshop sessions planned for Spring 2018.  

“I think it’s really critical to have student feedback,” White said. “Students are the primary users of the space, and they’ve been able to engage in the design process and give feedback on ideas of what the future of the library on the Cal Poly campus could be.”

After hearing from students and the campus community about what they would like out of their library, three designs were created that address the issues brought up and are aimed to make the library more comfortable for those who use it.

One of the largest issues has been the poor thermal conditions of the building, according to White. The new designs would address the increase in student use by updating the building, providing more comfort by increasing natural ventilation and supplementing with additional systems as needed. There are also plans to change classrooms and study spaces to maximize collaboration and space. Another part of the suggested changes is additional entrances to the library, creating a more accessible connection to campus.

The three designs are as follows, created by the architects at architecture firm BNIM and strategists at design firm brightspot:

Design one

  • A ‘home base’ for staff on levels three to five
  • Special collections on levels four and five with high density shelving on level one
  • Classrooms stacked vertically on levels two through four
  • Non-library partners located towards the southeast corner on levels two and three
  • Stacks dispersed with quiet studies on level two through five on the north side

Design two

  • A ‘home base’ for staff on levels two and three
  • Special collections on levels one and four with high density shelving on level one
  • Classrooms consolidated on levels one and two
  • Non-library partners located on level two adjacent to the classrooms
  • Stacks distributed on levels two through five with books visible to the atrium

Design three

  • A ‘home base’ for staff on levels two through four
  • Special collections on levels one and three with high density shelving on level one
  • Classroom consolidation on level five
  • Non-library partners adjacent to classrooms on level five
  • Stacks consolidated on level three with quiet study on level four and active study on level two

Kennedy Library employee Celeste Roberts said brightspot and BNIM are in tune with students’ suggestions and ultimately want to pick a design that best serves the community.

“Everyone involved in the project is super concerned with student and community opinion which is great,” business administration sophomore Roberts said. “They’re really listening to individuals’ suggestions, needs, wants and concerns to create something everyone generally agrees with.”

Business administration senior Edgardo Soto said he is happy to hear of the additional entrances being considered.

“As a business student, having an entrance in the back would make things a lot easier,” Soto said. “That way I can just go straight to class instead going to the front of the building and all the way around.”

Correction: A previous version of this article said the project would cost $5 million. It has been corrected.

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