Southern celebrated on July 17 the groundbreaking for the renovation of the original wing of Buley Library — a project that will transform the building into a state-of-the-art facility within 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 that will serve as an atrium and skywalk connecting two sections of the building on the first and third floors. When added to the 135,000-square-foot addition completed in 2008, the library will encompass 245,000 square feet.
“Buley Library is a building that physically and practically has served as the hub of learning on our campus for more than 40 years,” said Southern President Mary A. Papazian. “The new Buley will feature the latest in information technology.”
“This groundbreaking is a major step forward for (SCSU),” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the featured speaker during the ceremony. Malloy also noted that the building project is one of several undertaken recently by the university to help transform the campus.
The library project includes the creation of an art gallery, as well as space for media collections, special collections and a reading area on the ground floor. The first floor will feature a cyber café, as well as an “information commons,” an area that will include a computer lab, lounge seating, email stations, a reference help desk and an IT help desk.
The project is being designed to include three classrooms, two computer teaching labs, a seminar room, a conference room and a Faculty Development Center on the second floor. Plans call for the third floor to include the eventual creation of a tutorial center — which would feature a writing tutorial room, a math and science tutorial room, a computer lab and a conference room. The floor also would be home to the Library Science Department faculty and staff. The Office of Information Technology would eventually be located on the fourth floor, according to the building plans, as would library administration offices.
Other speakers at the ceremony included: Lewis J. Robinson Jr. and Gregory W. Gray, chairman and president, respectively, of the Board of Regents for Higher Education; Pasquale “Bud” Salemi, deputy commissioner of the state Department of Construction Services; Erin McGuckin, president of the SCSU Student Government Association; Marianne D. Kennedy, interim provost/vice president for academic affairs at SCSU, and state Sen. Toni N. Harp (D-New Haven), co-chairwoman of the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee.
Following the groundbreaking, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held for the new 1,257-space Wintergreen Parking Garage. The parking garage has added a net of more than 800 parking spaces for the campus.
The $31 million is expected to cover the bulk of the project, although other sources of funding will be used to complete aspects of the upper floors.
Skanska of New Haven is the construction manager, while Oak Park Architects of West Hartford is the architectural firm handling the project.
The library opened in 1970 toward the end of Hilton Buley’s 17-year reign as president of Southern. He served in that capacity from 1954 to 1971.