A year ago if you walked through the building after the fire, you would have experienced varying degrees of destruction. Today, you’ll find varying degrees of progress.
The building renovation is moving forward in phases — and moving quickly.
The penthouse that houses new heating and cooling units got a coat of paint recently.
Inside, the mechanical equipment is in place and ready to go online so the many, many work crews in the oldest portions of the building will be able to work in an air-conditioned environment this summer.
As Hutton Construction superintendent Mike Watkins showed us recently though, behind the clean white walls, there are still traces of the fire.
Meanwhile, on the first floor, the future home of the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons is taking shape. It seems less like a cavernous concrete rolling rink and more like a space that will be ready to welcome students for the fall semester.
On second floor, demolition is in mid-stride and the space is scheduled to open for the spring semester.
Things are moving so quickly that we have a window of opportunity. If we’re going to incorporate enhancements that will make the new Hale Library an improved environment for students, we need to raise additional funds now.
Insurance will cover like-for-like replacement costs, but when it comes to making Hale better than it was, we’ll have to rely on private dollars. More reservable study rooms, more classrooms or even more outlets to accommodate students’ innumerable electronic devices: Those will have to be funded above and beyond insurance dollars.
If you’d like to support the Help for Hale fund, you can make a contribution online.
At every turn there’s another space in which the old, damaged materials have been cleared to make way for the new.
Plenty of old things are staying, though. For example, not all of the furniture was a total loss. Some of the salvaged tables are currently stored on the second floor in Historic Farrell Library, the 1927 portion of the building.
Where are the books? Most of the 1.5 million items are in storage units in the old limestone caves under Kansas City.
However, the cleaning process is ongoing. All of those boxes of materials are rotated through our facility near the Manhattan Regional Airport. They come in soot-stained, and they’re unboxed, individually cleaned by hand one at a time, and treated in the ozone chamber. Then they’re reboxed and sent back to a storage unit filled with clean boxes.
At this point, more than 65 percent of our Hale Library collection is clean.
With projects moving forward on so many fronts — book cleaning, construction on first, demolition on second and more — we’ll be providing frequent building updates over the summer.
If you’d like to provide some Help for Hale in support of some of these efforts, please visit the KSU Foundation’s online giving page for Hale Library renovations.