Today: Jun 24, 2024

Buley Library renovations in the works

Buley Library renovations are underway.

Aaron Johnson – General Assignment Reporter

For over five years, the Hilton C. Buley Library has been more of a construction site gone wrong than the academic center of Southern Connecticut State University.

“It made the area look pretty bad,” said Shirley Anderson, the administrative assistant at Buley.

However, that is all about to change as work continues on the new renovations that are scheduled to be finished within the next two years. The $31 million project includes the renovation of the 98,000-square-foot wing and the addition of a 12,000-square-foot area. When added to the 135,000-square-foot addition — completed in 2008 — the library will encompass 245,000 square feet. The transformation will turn Buley from a worn down building into a state-of-the-art facility.

“It will be an updated building for the modern area,” said Library Director Christina Baum.

The new library will come equipped with a cyber café for students, an information commons — which will include a computer lab, lounge seating, email stations, a reference help desk — and an IT help desk.

“The new facilities will be an even better open-door for students. It has been long overdue, but it is very exciting.” said Anderson.

On top of the technological improvements, Buley will now also offer students an art gallery, a space for media collections, and a reading area on the ground floor.

“It will be a very attractive building. The eye of the campus and the academic hub. It gives us all a great sense of pride,” said Baum.

The project will also help with classroom space around campus as it includes three classrooms, two computer teaching labs, a seminar room, a conference room and a Faculty Development Center.

“It’s been great. I couldn’t be happier,” said Robert Sheeley.

Sheeley, the associate vice president for Capital Budgeting & Facilities Operations, said the project took several long years to restart following the previous contractor’s termination due to poor performance. The resulting lawsuits filed by the former contractors also delayed the project’s completion.

Buley Library renovations are underway.
Buley Library renovations are underway.

“It was very frustrating,” said Sheeley. “But it is good too see the project under construction, instead of being an eyesore.”

As the news begins to spreads campus wide, SCSU students are very excited for the completion of the new-look library.

“Oh I can’t wait,” said junior nursing major Hannah Thill.

Thill, a Waterbury native, said she hated to walk by the old building everyday going to class.

“The old library sucked. It was an eyesore having to see it everyday walking to and from class,” said Thill.

Anderson said the completion of the library is a testament to the university’s goal of putting students first while also giving them a place to go to meet and do work together.

“Whatever it takes to draw them in. Students are our first priority here at Southern,” said Anderson.

Baum said the additions to the building are being designed to bring the library into the age of technology.

“It is being designed with today’s students in mind,” said Baum, who manages several aspects of the library including staffing, budgeting, and university community. “It’s a technological attractive place for students to meet. We are all very excited. It’s been since May 2008. We are just all excited to see workers and something happening.”

The library opened in 1970 toward the end of Hilton Buley’s 17-year reign as president of Southern. While the renovations are underway, the library will continue to offer assistance to the students and staff of SCSU.

“There will be no change. The library will continue the same as always,” said Baum. “All services are going to continue during renovations.”

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