Santa Clara’s new library open for business…months ahead of schedule

After the dust had cleared from the Orradre Library demolition in summer 2006, things changed almost every day at the building site. One week, a hole, then a frame, then walls; the next week, it seemed, there were windows. And now, with construction completed several months ahead of schedule, SCU’s new Learning Commons, Technology Center, and Library will be open to students for the start of spring quarter.

Ron Danielson, vice provost for information services and SCU’s chief information officer, credits the university’s general contractor, Devcon Construction, with the early completion. “They really pushed to get us the building as rapidly as possible consistent with a quality construction job,” he said.

The new Learning Commons, Technology Center, and Library
Photo: Charles Barry

Library staff will most likely move during the intersession, following the building dedication on March 14, to be joined by staff from the information technology and media services offices.

Liz Salzer, University librarian, looks forward to opening the new facility for services and support and to settling in after 20 months in temporary locations. “We’re not exactly looking forward to the move itself,” she said, “but we are looking forward to being moved.”

Although the learning commons and technology areas will look much more complete, with rooms, computers, and workstations ready for use, the building is still a work in progress. Few of the thousands of volumes that will eventually fill the library shelves will be in place when the building opens. But staff will begin relocating collections from the Automated Retrieval System as soon as possible; those materials going to the open shelves should be moved before the end of the spring term, according to Salzer.

The remainder of volumes and items, as well as those books and archival materials that will be shelved in a new vault, will be moved during the summer. All collections will be in place no later than early September.

Even without books, “the plus for students will be the study space,” Salzer said. “They’ve had almost no space, even less than was in Orradre.”

“I think the university community will be delighted with the building,” said Danielson. “It will offer a variety of spaces and services that currently have no equivalents on campus and, we expect, will spark some innovative programming around academic and educational themes.” —SS

post-image The new Learning Commons, Technology Center, and Library Photo: Charles Barry
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