This Labor Day we’re thinking of all of the workers who have made Hale Library’s recovery and renovation possible. Due to their dedication, we were able to meet our goal of opening the first floor during the first week of classes. To all the workers, thank you!
Author: Sarah McGreer Hoyt
At 8 a.m. on Wednesday, August 28, 2019, Dean Lori Goetsch opened the doors to the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons on Hale Library’s first floor.
Oh, K-State friends. We wish you could have been there. It was a beautiful thing. After 15 long months, our people finally got to come back to their Home Sweet Hale.
It wouldn’t have been possible without the more than 2,400 individuals who contributed to Help for Hale. We have four more floors to renovate, so please, be a part of creating the rest of our next-generation library. It’s easy to make a gift through the KSU Foundation online.
If you’re on campus, come visit! We’ll be closed Saturday-Monday of Labor Day weekend, but regular hours start Tuesday.
It’s crunch time! Back in April, Hutton Construction superintendent Mike told us that toward the end of a job, it’s critical to get the “smarts and parts” in order to get them installed and meet the deadline.
“Those are the things like technology—and there’s going to be a lot of it on the first floor—or door handles and other fixtures that don’t get manufactured until the order is placed,” he said.
That’s the final step. And that’s exactly what’s going down now on Hale Library’s first floor.
We are just weeks away from opening the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons. An official open date will be announced soon, but we anticipate opening most of the first floor very early this fall.
“As is the case with large construction projects, you have to expect the unexpected,” said Lori Goetsch, dean of Libraries. “But it’s coming together beautifully, and we wanted to get the word out in advance of students returning to campus.”
Stay tuned! We’re hoping to announce our opening date next week.
Hale Library’s first floor looks less like a skating rink and more like the beautiful home of the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons these days. Don’t miss the latest photos of the workers and spaces! We see in these images a promise of Hale Library’s bright future.
Doors will open to the first floor early in the fall semester, and the second floor will open spring 2020. The entire building will be complete by the end of 2020!
Thank you to University Photo Service’s Tom Theis, who took most of these amazing photos!
Many K-Staters have committed private funds to facilitate the student-focused upgrades that will make Hale Library a next-generation library. We are grateful that the Butler Family and their Butler Family Community Foundation of Manhattan, Kansas, is among those generous donors.
The Butler Family Community Foundation gift will support the creation of a new digitization lab equipped with cutting-edge technology. Librarians will use the space to scan unique and rare primary source materials from the Richard L. D. and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections, which is located on Hale Library’s fifth floor. Thanks to this digitization lab, K-State Libraries will be able to preserve historic photos, documents, correspondence and more for future generations.
This process is increasingly important and a key part of preservation work in large libraries.
“We are thrilled at the prospect of extending the reach of the Libraries’ special collections to the world,” explained Brenda Butler, executive director of the Butler Family Community Foundation.
“As the digital archives become available, anyone can access a wealth of knowledge in cookery, Kansas history and so much more. This initiative finds a new way to place Kansas State and its knowledge base on a global stage. This is exactly the sort of project, with benefits to so many diverse groups of students, scholars and researchers that the Butler Family Community Foundation and our commitment to education, creativity and community is proud to support.”
As K-State Libraries’ Associate Dean Sheila Yeh noted recently, “The state-of-the-art digitization lab will be unique to K-State, our community, and the Libraries. It is often not possible nor economical to transport those collections to and from an out-sourced digitization facility. … This is an example of a sustainable service model with a far-reaching impact.”
Thank you to the Butler Family Community Foundation and the many alumni and friends who have been inspired by K-State’s vision for a next-generation library.
There is still work to do. You can help.
Give online to support the restoration of Hale Library. It’s never been easier.
We’re about six weeks out from the planned completion of the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons on Hale Library’s first floor! The space is buzzing with activity as drywall is finished, the new paint goes on and floors are evened out in preparation for carpet installation.
Meanwhile, one level up on second floor, most of the demolition is complete and the space largely has been cleared out. Second floor is slated to open in spring 2020!
If you’d like to help make the other floors of Hale Library as amazing as the first floor is going to be, contribute to Help for Hale through the KSU Foundation website! Time is of the essence. Insurance will cover replacement costs—but not the improvements that make an ordinary library experience extraordinary.
When Hale Library reopens, the renovated space will include increased access to technology, plus some exciting new features. K-State students and faculty members will find the tools they need, including
- An Innovation Lab where users master state-of-the-art software and hardware that are not readily available elsewhere on campus.
- Improved infrastructure, including stronger wi-fi and more electrical outlets.
- Technology-equipped, reservable group study rooms.
Given the complexity of those additions and the role information technology plays in the day-to-day life of all academic libraries, we are pleased to have Sheila Yeh, associate dean for collections, discovery and information technology services, on our team. She joined K-State Libraries in March 2019. Most recently, she worked at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where she was assistant dean of library and information technology.
I sat down with Dr. Yeh to hear her thoughts about the Hale Library renovation and her time on the K-State campus so far.
What has it been like for you to arrive in the wake of the Hale Library fire?
While the seriousness of the fire in the Hale Library can’t be understated, the silver lining is that the library has a unique opportunity to reinvent itself. It is an honor to be part of the team that guides the library’s reimagining.
In your new role, you oversee so many areas in the library, including preservation and information technology services departments. What excites you about your job?
Information technology has been the catalyst for much of the transformation we find in today’s academic libraries.
Digital and information technology are key resources that must integrate with other library functions to deliver effective services. They are more than utilities and tools; they are enablers.
What do you mean by enablers?
Consider the technologies that will be available in the Innovation Lab, such as virtual reality goggles or the Liquid Galaxy platform.
I’m very excited about these tools; however, I’m more excited about the prospect that the Innovation Lab, as a space combined with its technologies and programs, will offer new opportunities for interdisciplinary studies, serendipitous discoveries, and knowledge creation.Those tools will enable great things. You never know, our Innovation Lab may incubate something that combats climate change.
What previous career experiences are you drawing from when it comes to thinking about the new Hale Library?
At the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I led the reimagining of group study rooms in the library, everything from new furniture to charging stations, and the completed spaces were very popular.
Prior to the University of Hawaii at Manoa, I worked at the University of Denver Libraries, where I oversaw the area that supported technologies in the library’s innovative group study rooms, event rooms, classrooms, and seminar rooms. I helped establish the Library’s Makerspace, its staffing, and programming support.
Keeping current on the landscape of innovation hubs at higher education institutions and academic libraries in the United States is part of my routine. Aside from technology itself, I also keep up-to-date how institutions are utilizing their space and technology resources to inspire the next generation inventors.
How do you see faculty and students using the new features in Hale Library?
Part of my role is to think about the areas within the Library from a 360-degree, big-picture perspective. I think about the Library as an organic whole, providing a multitude of services for the community. I think about how we effectively and efficiently deliver services by capitalizing on our existing resources. I think about service delivery, and about the services needed to fulfill the Library’s mission at the highest level. I think about how we engage in dialog with our community to continuously evolve and foster success.
For example, I don’t have to know how to use every tool in the Innovation Lab, because I trust my technologists for that. But I do think about how we can create connections so everyone at K-State—students from all majors as well as faculty—finds opportunities for growth and discovery in the new Hale Library.
I want to think about how we can connect and utilize faculty who already have significant connections in the community. How can we bring those parties to Hale Library to help students succeed and prepare them for life after they graduate?
Also, it is imperative to connect with campus constituents such as the Office of Research Development to ensure that the library can be a supportive partner for their initiatives, such as campus-wide data management support.
What feature of the new building are you most excited about?
I am excited that we will have a state-of-the art digitization lab for Special Collections that will be unique to K-State, our community, and the Libraries. It is often not possible nor economical to transport those collections to and from an out-sourced digitization facility. The new digitization equipment will make those collections available to a global audience. This is an example of a sustainable service model with a far-reaching impact.
If you weren’t working in the library world, what do you think you would be doing?
I have long dreamt about a boutique Chinese dumpling restaurant. Who knows, maybe one day you will find me in the kitchen attending to dough and savory fillings to make the delicious dumplings I grew up with.
Things were heating up in Hale Library last week — quite literally, since the new HVAC system isn’t up and running yet. Testing was in progress, and they were about to turn things on!
The warmer days of summer haven’t stopped construction one bit, though. We recently walked through and saw spaces that reminded us how far we’ve come. We also snapped photos of a few of the more than 120 workers who are making it all happen. (Thank you for being such good sports!)
In the video above, Brenna Leahy, communications student employee, and Mike Haddock, associate dean, look around the first floor under construction. The sunflower entrance at Hale Library’s southeast corner is behind Brenna and Mike. As the video pans to the left, you see the entrance to a large space for meetings and presentations, and then the sites of the new cafe, the entry arch to the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons and spaces between the pillars where glass-walled reservable group study rooms will be situated.
We’ll be back with another building update later in July. Carpet installation is happening on first floor soon!
On June 12, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, CASE, announced the winners of its 2019 Circle of Excellence awards. Kansas State University Libraries Magazine received a gold award.
Only 145 entries out of 2,856 were recognized with a grand gold or gold designation, and we are thrilled to be one of them.
CASE is an international association of educational institutions, primarily colleges and universities. Their Circle of Excellence Awards honor outstanding work in advancement, alumni relations, communications, fundraising and marketing.
K-State Libraries Magazine gives friends, funders, students and alumni an inside look at library successes, stories and collections — and it has been hugely important as we strive to communicate our post-fire recovery plans and vision for Hale Library’s future.
This week we’re highlighting some of the amazing photos that were in the issue we submitted to the CASE awards. They’re great reminders of how far we’ve come!
If you’d like to make a financial contribution toward the amazing fire-recovery story, visit the KSU Foundation to make a gift to the Help for Hale fund. And if you’d like to see more of K-State Libraries Magazine, visit our website to access issues online or sign up to receive a copy in your mailbox!
We’ll be back next week with a building update featuring plenty of first and second floor construction progress!
It’s a new era in Hale Library. When Associate Dean Mike Haddock goes into the building to document construction these days, he’s coming out with more and more photos of clean, white drywalled spaces and fewer and fewer of rubble and demolition.
The Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons on first floor is taking shape. Things are progressing on schedule, so we aim to open the doors by the first day of fall semester 2019!
The photos below were taken from the same first-floor spot at the bottom of the stairs about 18 days apart.
Meanwhile, up on second floor, demolition continues. Ceiling tiles, drywall, pipes and ductwork have been torn out to clear the way for clean new walls like those you saw in the photos above.
Even the security gates came down.
The renovation doesn’t just affect Hale Library’s external surfaces. Haddock recently captured this photo of wiring sitting in a rusted-out electrical box. It’s a reminder that the damage wasn’t just cosmetic: Improvements are taking place at every level, at every turn.
When Hale reopens in phases starting this fall, that means improved infrastructure, including more electrical outlets and better wi-fi.
Sometimes you have to step away from the computer and get outside. Breathe some fresh air under a blue Kansas sky, gather around a fire pit and watch the kids run. Maybe hold a baby for good measure.
Following the fire, K-State Libraries’ 80-plus regular employees were relocated to 10 different locations across Manhattan. While we’re hugely grateful to everyone who opened their doors to us, we miss seeing our colleagues. The end of the semester seemed like an ideal time to reconnect and enjoy each other’s company.
Thanks to Laurel Littrell, K-State Libraries director of library planning and assessment, we recently had a gorgeous setting in which to do just that.
Littrell and her husband, David Littrell, professor emeritus of music, live northeast of Manhattan on a farm where they have horses and plenty of space for all of our junior librarians to chase chickens and farm cats.
“We’ve had these gatherings here before, and I had been thinking it was time to do another one,” Littrell said. “We were all talking about how to recognize the one year anniversary of the fire, and we thought it might be great to do something positive related to fire, like an outdoor cookout!”
So on Wednesday, May 28, more than 65 people gathered to roast hotdogs and bask in one of the few summer-like days the greater MHK region had seen in weeks.
We took the opportunity to ask some of our colleagues what they’re looking forward to this summer.
Academic services librarian Thomas Bell was looking forward to travel, but he was glad that he didn’t miss the gathering before heading out.
“With all of us scattered all over campus and town I was reminded how much I deeply like and enjoy the people I get to work with at the Libraries,” Bell said. “I had planned to stay for one hour max, as I was leaving the next day and hadn’t packed. It was such a treat catching up with everyone I ended up staying two-and-a-half hours (and wanted to stay longer!). I was up late packing, got three hours sleep, totally worth it.”
Academic services librarian Carol Sevin echoed Bell’s sentiments.
“After a year of hard work on campus (but outside of Hale Library), togethering off-campus with colleagues and families was lovely.”
And what is Sevin looking forward to in the coming months?
“I love teaching how to learn and am always encouraging students to find and use online resources to supplement course materials or to brush up on prerequisites,” she said. “I’m really looking forward to practicing what I preach by leveling up my musicianship and computer programming this summer.”
(Locals: Don’t miss Sevin playing the french horn in the Manhattan Municipal Band performances on Tuesday evenings in City Park this summer!)
The cookout also gave us a chance to spend time with some of our newer co-workers. Katy Bach, budget-fiscal officer, and Sheila Yeh, associate dean, (both pictured above) joined K-State Libraries this spring. They’re still getting to know everyone, which is challenging with the multiple different office locations.
We hope all of our library friends and blog readers have some equally beautiful opportunities to unplug and relax this summer. Next week we’ll be back to business with a jam-packed Hale Library construction update!
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.
The fire was one year ago: May 22, 2018. In the last 12 months, we’ve undertaken a recovery and restoration project of massive proportions.
The new building is beginning to take shape. While insurance is expected to cover like-for-like replacement costs, enhancements for Hale Library will require private donor support.
Today our K-State Libraries Student Ambassadors share why a next-generation Hale Library is an important investment for tomorrow’s Wildcats.
You can provide #HelpforHale online today.
K-State librarians are devoted to helping students and researchers.
Funds from #HelpforHale will equip the new building and its Innovation Lab with technology that will take their work to the next level. Our people will be there to help them every step of the way.
Insurance will cover like-for-like replacement costs, but it will require private donor support to take Hale Library from good to great. #HelpforHale funds will create better study spaces, group study rooms and provide more white boards.
Also important for students: more outlets. When Hale Library was dedicated in 1997, our users weren’t carrying laptops, cell phones and other electronics at all times. With #HelpforHale funds, we will be able to increase the number of electronic outlets exponentially.
It’s hard to imagine a K-State experience without Hale Library, but students like Kali Poenitske went through their entire freshman year without setting foot inside the building.
A contribution to #HelpforHale will allow us create the new Hale Library that Kali and generations of future students deserve!
The new Hale Library will feature welcoming environments for every student on campus, from quieter quiet spaces to improved graduate student study rooms.
Not only that, but with #HelpforHale funds, we’ll be able to extend our hours and provide a first floor that’s open 24 hours a day.
As we bring Hale Library back, we have a window of opportunity to make the heart of campus stronger. Renovations are moving ahead at a furious pace. A contribution to #HelpforHale now will allow us to incorporate the extra features our campus community so richly deserves.
What a difference a year makes! One year ago, finals week was in full swing on the K-State campus, and Hale Library was packed. This year, construction crews started tearing down drop ceilings on Hale’s second floor and framing out new walls on the first floor.
Here’s a visual tour of the latest progress. We’re hoping for an A+!
Here are a few more views of Hale Library’s main floor that will be familiar to our regular visitors.
Meanwhile, on first floor, they’ve moved past the demolition phase and have begun framing out the walls for the new Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons, opening fall 2019.
In these photos, the yellow pointer on the embedded map indicates where the photographer, Associate Dean Mike Haddock, was standing and which direction he was facing.
The future welcoming entrance to the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons is located just inside Hale Library’s southeast doors.
We hope everyone involved in spring finals week 2019 finishes strong. We look forward to seeing you in Hale Library’s Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons for finals week next fall.
And congratulations graduates! Please come see us for a tour when you return to campus for a visit!
Next week is finals week.
While students are buckling down in study spots across campus, we’re feeling nostalgic. If you ever wanted to capture the spirit of Hale Library pre-fire, you couldn’t find a better time than a Sunday or Monday during finals week.
Every table was packed, and every white board was crammed with notes and diagrams. The building itself seemed to hum with the sound of K-Staters prepping for exams or finishing papers.
This week we look back on some of the end-of-semester moments in which — it felt to us — Hale Library lived its fullest life.
Granted, there are K-Staters who used the building all year long, day in, day out, who claimed that finals week was for amateurs. We loved it, though, because during finals week the hard work and the camaraderie were writ large. It was on display at every table, on every floor … and sometimes even on the floor.
Unexpected special guests would stop by. Sometimes it was Willie Wildcat, or at the end of the fall semester, it might be a brass band playing holiday carols. Prof. Kelly Welch from Family Studies used to show up with dozens of pizzas that she distributed to surprised and grateful students.
Local businesses Einstein Bros. Bagels, Jimmy Johns, Mr. Goodcents, Bluestem and Varsity Donuts regularly donated food. The lines stretched the length of the second floor as students took a break for snacks, caffeine and words of encouragement from our library employee volunteers.
Last May, the KSU Foundation donated goodie bags that we distributed across Hale Library’s five floors.
All of this is to say that we are keenly aware that it’s finals week once more, and we’re sad that we’re not all in Hale together.
Of course, students can still contact a librarian for help with research, and they can check out their textbooks on reserve at Library Help in the K-State Union, and they can interlibrary loan whatever they need for their final papers.
And behind the scenes, we’ll be planning for a glorious return to Hale Library in fall 2019 when the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons opens on the first floor.
We’re looking forward to it so much. And we’ll be sure it’s equipped with so many white boards, group study spaces and all of the outlets students need for their laptops and phones — you won’t believe how many outlets!
Until then, good luck on finals, Wildcats! Everyone at K-State Libraries is cheering for you!
It isn’t often you get to make a fresh start, but this week my fellow K-State Libraries employees and I cast off the old in a Marie Kondo ritual of sorts.
After the fire, everything salvageable in our sodden and soot-stained offices was boxed up and moved into storage. We were all assigned new offices in one of ten different buildings across campus and—each according to our unique circumstances and job changes—began navigating a post-fire existence.
We all reacted and adapted in our own ways.
The same held true this week as we took turns visiting a storage facility near the Manhattan Regional Airport to sift through the boxes from our Hale Library offices that have been packed away for almost a year.
Staff members had to decide which work-related possessions they wanted to have cleaned and which items weren’t worth saving.
Some employees found the process liberating. “Man, I should have gotten rid of that paper a long time ago,” academic services librarian Sara K. Kearns said, after offloading arm loads of files destined for the shredder.
Others—especially those who have worked in Hale Library for decades—felt a renewed sense of loss.
Most librarians I spoke with said that they had already retrieved the possessions that were most important to them when we were allowed in the building for the first time on May 30, 2018.
Just a week after the fire, we signed in with security, donned hardhats and solemnly filed through the dark, hot library carrying our flashlights. While we navigated puddles, sagging ceiling tiles and random debris, I was in disbelief at the amount of damage we found around every corner.
In my third floor office cubicle, I grabbed framed photos, artwork, and a two-drawer wooden card catalog that sat on my desk. At the last minute, I stacked a potted plant on top of my armload.
Those few belongings went home with me. The plant—now thriving—sits on my refrigerator, where it gets a lot more sun than it ever did in 313 Hale Library.
Some offices were in much worse condition than mine, and those library employees salvaged very little.
“It was pretty surreal visiting the office for the first time after the fire,” librarian Melia Fritch said. “The most disturbing thing was going into to our office and feeling like FEMA had been through since there were these orange spray-painted words like ‘demo’ all over the walls. That was weird.”
Memories of that first post-fire visit came into focus this week as I watched my coworkers open their boxes.
Kearns recovered dozens of books that will be treated in the ozone chamber to eliminate the smell of smoke before she reclaims them. After making quick work of her paper files, she opened several long, flat packages wrapped in cardboard.
Two of them turned out to be prints she bought in Japan while visiting her brother.
“These were on the wall that water absolutely poured down when it drained from third floor to our offices on the second floor,” she said. “I can’t believe they aren’t covered in mold. They’re grimy and they need to be cleaned, but they’re totally fine.”
Senior graphic designer Tara Marintzer approached the process wondering if she’d have similar surprises. “It’s a mystery. I have no idea what I’ll find or whether there’s anything even worth saving.”
“After the fire, my new plan was to be more digital,” Marintzer added. “No more paper files.”
In all, nearly 1,000 boxes of office contents were packed out of Hale Library. The recovery crews that boxed up employee belongings didn’t always know what belonged to whom, so there has been some confusion along the way.
Kearns opened up one box marked with her name and said, “I have no idea who anyone is in these photos. This isn’t mine.”
A coworker glanced over and recognized that the images were of Kristin Hersh, lead singer of Throwing Muses, so then we knew that the box must belong to librarian Thomas Bell, who writes about the history of rock and roll. Gradually, the boxes that remain will make their way back to their rightful owners.
For employees who had a lot to sort through, decision fatigue set in.
“I had 80 boxes to open,” Kathryn Talbot, preservation coordinator, said. “By the end, I was throwing things out a lot faster.”
As I write this, I haven’t had my turn yet to open the boxes. I don’t know what I’ll find, but I can’t think of anything that I miss.
It’s a good reminder of the most important things about the fire, though: There were no lives lost. There weren’t any injuries. Everyone came out safe.
Most things can be replaced, or—in the case of Hale Library’s interior—rebuilt so they’re even better than they were before.
When it’s time for the K-State Libraries employees to move back into our offices a few years from now, we’ll be traveling a little bit lighter. A lot of us will be working more digitally, less physically.
And, in a place of honor, my future Hale Library space will feature a healthy spider plant survivor.
Postscript: I went through my boxes a few days after I initially wrote this post. It felt good to offload “stuff” and think instead about the ways in which working at K-State Libraries still sparks joy.
The Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons opens in fall 2019. We’re so excited, we’ve done everything we can short of scaling Anderson Hall to shout it from the rooftop spire. This week we talked to the Hutton Construction superintendents in charge of making it happen.
Mike Watkins has been in construction for 17 years, including a stints working for a general contractor and as an iron worker. This isn’t his first time on the K-State campus: He worked on the Justin Hall renovation and addition in 2011.
Curt Miller has been working in the construction field a bit longer.
“I started parking cars when I was 16 for $1.60 an hour,” Miller said. “Then I got a job working on a bridge deck wielding a 90 pound jackhammer. That paid $3.20 an hour.”
One day while he was on the job, Miller said he saw the man on the job site sitting in a pickup and told his coworkers, “I want that guy’s job.”
He was superintendent on a small project by the time he was 21.
Both say that most of the jobs they work on are new construction and remodels; they don’t often work on buildings after a disaster. Because of the fire, the Hale Library project has required them to deal with a lot more remediation than they normally would. They’re used to dealing with asbestos, but in Hale Library they’ve had to remediate old lead paint, plus smoke and soot contaminants, too.
Of course, not all jobs are this large, either. In order to manage work throughout the 400,000-plus square feet, they have a third short-term superintendent, plus five foremen who report directly to them. Additionally, there are approximately seven or eight sub-contractors and as many as 100 workers in Hale Library on any given day.
“It’s a big job,” Miller said. “But I think we have a pretty good team dynamic.”
They say that the penthouse that covers the new roof-top HVAC units has been the biggest challenge so far.
“We had to build a roof over the old roof to protect the library’s fourth floor from the weather,” Watkins said. “Then we removed the old roof and installed the floor. In a normal job, you’d start from the ground up.”
While Hale Library’s users might not find the mechanical room an exciting part of the renovation, the process of watching it come together has been fascinating.
The timeline to get the first floor done by fall 2019 is also challenging.
A typical remodel would have more time built into the front-end for the design process. With the Hale Library renovation, the schedule is compressed, and plans are evolving constantly. It requires the superintendents and their teams to remain flexible and patient.
Watkins also said it will be critical to get the “smarts and parts” in time in order to get them installed and meet the deadline.
“Those are the things like technology—and there’s going to be a lot of it on the first floor—or door handles and other fixtures that don’t get manufactured until the order is placed,” he said.
What are some of the things coming up that Watkins and Miller say we should be looking forward to?
They’re almost done with the first floor demolition, and then the framing will get underway.
They’re also working hard to get the rooftop air handlers online by May 1. Once they’re in the penthouse and functioning, they’ll help keep Farrell Library cool this summer. It will also help with air flow through the oldest parts of the building where they are working to lower the humidity and dry out the plaster.
While we were visiting with Watkins and Miller, we ran into K-State Student Ambassadors Tel Wittmer and Maddy Mash taking their own Hale Library tour, and we asked them what they thought.
“I think students are going to love all of the different types of study spaces,” Mash said. “And it will be great to have more natural light. That’s really exciting, too.”
Mash and Wittmer will be traveling across Kansas this year to talk about everything K-State, and now they’re prepared to answer questions about Hale Library.
If our readers have any questions for us or for Hutton Construction superintendents Mike Watson and Curt Miller, leave them in the comments!
Today’s Hale Library is cavernous, dimly lit, dusty and loud. Showers of sparks fly as work crews weld new pipes in place. A jackhammer clanks and stutters as they remove damaged entryway tiles.
Tomorrow’s Hale Library? It will be welcoming, well-lit and comfortable.
Having a hard time picturing it? Maybe this will help:
Right now on the first floor, workers on aerial lifts install new pipes and duct work. Metal studs cover the limestone facade of the 1955 stacks addition.
But when the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons opens on Hale Library’s first floor in fall 2019, this wall will be partially covered by white board surfaces, offering plenty of room for students to study and collaborate.
Sections of the limestone will remain uncovered, though. It’s one of the many ways the renovated Hale Library will deliver new, needed amenities for students while honoring the building’s long history.
We can picture it already–the return of the marathon white board study sesh:
And students will be able to access those white boards at all hours of the day because–drumroll please!–the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons will be open 24/7.
We’ll be able to close the first floor off from the rest of the building so that students can have the study space they need when they need it–even if that’s at 3:00 a.m.
When the second floor opens in spring 2020, it will feature a similar white board wall.
The first and second floors of the 1927 building, Historic Farrell Library, will open during one of the last phases. When they do open, though, the amazing natural light and plaster work will take center stage.
Previously, few Wildcats ventured into these rooms as they were densely packed with collections and office cubicles.
In the renovation, they’ll be transformed into public gathering spots. The second floor (shown above) will feature current periodicals and plenty of comfortable seating.
Directly below that living room space, the first floor of the 1927 building will include the same comfortable seating plus juvenile literature and curriculum materials, some of our highest use collections.
And for those of you wondering about food and drink options, rest assured that the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons will include an exciting new dining venue.
Named in honor of the Hale Family, the new café area will feature a warm, welcoming seating area with wood details salvaged from Historic Farrell Library. Visitors will be able to choose from a variety of settings in which to enjoy a meal or a cup of coffee, including comfortable lounge chairs situated around a large two-sided fireplace, a feature frequently requested by students.
We look forward to sharing more photos as these spaces come to life. If you have questions about the planned space, ask them in the comments section.
And if you’d like to help make the future of Hale Library a reality, visit our Help for Hale webpage or contact Chris Spooner, KSU Foundation Associate Vice President of Development Programs, at 785-775-2130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You want of-the-moment updates? You know you can find them here on the blog!
Looking for something more? Don’t miss the latest issue of K-State Libraries Magazine.
Our spring 2019 issue is online and in mailboxes now!
We’ve got a big-picture update on the future of Hale Library, including a sneak peek of the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons, opening fall 2019. You’ll also find dramatic renderings of the Innovation Center and working designs for new study spaces, meeting rooms and more.
Want the latest news about insurance reimbursements? In our Q&A with Dean Lori Goetsch, she shares all there is to know about insurance and the cost of renovating Hale Library.
“I never realized how complicated it would be to negotiate an insurance settlement of this magnitude,” Dean Goetsch said. “Hale Library is so large, and it was packed with furniture and technology. The insurance adjustors and all of the various parties have been working for months to estimate the costs.”
And when will all of this happen? The building will reopen in phases, with the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons opening up first, in fall 2019.
Of course, Hale Library won’t live its best new life without our friends and supporters. If you like what you see in the magazine preview, visit Help for Hale to join in our effort to create a next-generation library.
What about the books? Thanks to hundreds of workers who put in thousands of hours, more than 1.5 million collection items were packed out in less than 17 weeks. Until Hale Library is renovated, the entire collection will be stored in multiple air-conditioned warehouses across the region.
We estimate that all 1.5 million items could be clean by July 2019. Even better news: We anticipate that more than 99 percent of the materials will be saved.
Read more about the process of cleaning and storing more than 147,700 boxes of materials!
Even without the building, K-State’s librarians are working hard to elevate research on the K-State campus.
Visit the magazine to read about two librarians who have forged a unique partnership with K-State’s athletic training program. Melia Fritch and Cindy Logan don’t just help students complete assignments, they equip them to excel in their chosen professions.
For K-Staters of a certain age, the big campus fire isn’t Hale Library but rather Nichols Gymnasium. Did you know that after a major conflagration 50 years ago, the limestone skeleton of Nichols Gym stood unrestored for almost two decades before it became Nichols Hall? Learn more from the latest installment of K-State Keepsakes in—where else?!—our magazine!
Be the first to learn about great stories like these! Don’t miss an issue of K-State Libraries Magazine. Click here to receive a copy in your mailbox.
The walls came tumbling down on Hale Library’s first floor last week! We have even more great shots of the demolition and the dramatic progress going on behind that purple construction fence.
A construction worker uses a remote-controlled mini excavator to pull down duct work in front of the first floor elevators.
As the space opens up, we can more clearly envision what the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons will look like. Stay tuned! Next week we’ll share drawings from the architects at PGAV so you, too, can get a glimpse of Hale Library’s first floor in its fall 2019 state!
Demolition and construction are in full swing in Hale Library!
When we visited on Monday, March 26, more than 60 workers swarmed through the building.
On the first floor, they were stripping out drywall and tearing down walls in preparation for the creation of the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons, opening Fall 2019.
One feature of the Learning Commons? Improved access! If you’ve visited Hale Library, you know it has two exterior entrances: One at the end of a long ramp that originates at the southwest corner and one at the opposite end of the building near Mid-Campus Drive. The latter is called the sunflower entrance because of the wrought-iron sunflower sculpture above its doors.
Previously, when a visitor used the sunflower entrance, they came inside and encountered a wall of windows that blocked their access to the first floor. Instead, they had to climb the stairs or take an elevator to the second floor in order to enter through the main gates. Another trip down the stairs or the elevator was required to get back down to the first floor.
Unsurprisingly, this configuration baffled Hale Library’s visitors and first-time users (and frankly, even K-Staters who have been around for awhile).
But no more! This week, the wall came down. When Hale Library’s first floor reopens in fall 2019, visitors will walk through the sunflower entrance directly into the Dave & Ellie Everitt Learning Commons on Hale Library’s first floor.
Meanwhile, on the third floor, workers are installing new duct work in the Great Room ceiling.
Outside, on the north side of the building, scaffolding is going up in preparation for an imminent roofing project.
A crane is parked nearby on the south edge of the quad. It is maneuvering steel beams from the roof into a space above the fourth floor Academic Learning Center where the fire started.
Since the crane operator on the ground can’t see over the building, the workers rely on communication via wireless radio to complete every step of the process.
From the outside, Hale Library appears quiet and empty. On the inside, it’s a different scene entirely. We look forward to bringing you more construction updates in the coming weeks.
Award season continues! If they created an all-team Big 12 librarian category, these would be our contenders: They’ve all been nominated for the Brice G. Hobrock Distinguished Faculty Award.
The Hobrock Award was established by the Friends of K-State Libraries to honor Dean Emeritus Hobrock upon his retirement in 2004. Annually, the award recognizes outstanding librarianship and superior accomplishments among the K-State Libraries faculty.
Nominees are evaluated based on their professional activities during the last two years. One recipient is honored with a plaque of recognition and an award of $1,000.
Collection development librarians oversee purchases and subscriptions, deaccession underused materials and make other strategic decisions regarding how the Libraries spends their acquisitions dollars.
Jo, who currently focuses on science materials, has worked in this challenging field since 2011. The Libraries currently spend about $5 million each year on subscriptions to electronic databases and journals. However, publishers have been raising their prices for years.
Jo’s nominator noted that she has been a dedicated employee, working long hours in Hale Library to find the best prices possible in order to get the materials our researchers need, even in the face of inexorable subscription increases.
Like other K-State faculty members, our librarians conduct research, write journal articles and books, and present and lead committees for professional associations in their field of study.
Casey’s nominator said, “Casey has worked very hard … as co-chair of the Libraries, Archives, & Museums area for the Popular Culture Association … . He attends area chairs meetings, chairs all panels (often 8-10 panels per conference) … reviews paper proposals and handles a multitude of questions that come to the area chairs prior to a conference. Additionally, he has presented at the conference and his papers are exceptional.”
And finally, they noted the excellent work Casey has done as a collection development librarian for the arts and humanities in a challenging economic environment: “[H]e has worked diligently over the past two years to work with academic departments as K-State Libraries has continued to cancel serials due to ongoing budget constraints.”
Char, coordinator of electronic publishing, works hand-in-hand with the editors who create their online scholarly journals through K-State Libraries’ online open access publisher, New Prairie Press. There is a significant amount of setup work associated with creating a new journal, and Char has helped dozens of organizations navigate that process.
In the fall of 2017, the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) sought to publish a new journal, NACADA REVIEW, with New Prairie Press. Char’s nominator from NACADA said, “Char has been with us every step of the way.”
“Char’s expertise is invaluable as our editors … [prepare] for the inaugural issue. For Char, no question is too ‘dumb.’ Her explanations are straight forward, her patience boundless, her advice golden. In short, this journal would not exist without Char’s expertise. … [she] is truly an excellent resource and colleague for K-State faculty, and takes the mission of the open access community to heart.”
Not all students come to K-State prepared to conduct college-level research. Academic librarians address that challenge by teaching research skills in classrooms across campus. In fact, K-State’s librarians often collaborate with other faculty members and become co-teachers or research partners.
Ellen Urton is a devoted teaching partner. She has long supported the Landscape Architecture and Regional and Community Planning (LARCP) program through hands-on instruction. However, according to her nominator, “she eclipsed all of her past efforts through her recent collaboration on LAR101 ‘Introduction to Landscape Architecture.’”
Ellen collaborated with an LARCP professor and graduate student to develop a course from scratch: “Ellen’s vast expertise of resources, learning models and concrete teaching methods complimented her creativity for course structure and content development,” her nominator said. “Once the semester began, Ellen helped students directly by providing feedback on their work … . I can state with absolute certainty that [their] was significantly enriched by Ellen’s diligent contributions.”
The winners will be announced at the All-Staff Recognition Ceremony on Wednesday, March 27. Congratulations to the nominees!
Sometimes, you have to strip away the old before you can build the new. That’s our theme this week, as we bring you dramatic photos of the latest demolition and construction in Hale Library.
To help give you a sense of the site of our first photos, the jagged red spot above marks the location of the fire.
Today, if you enter Historic Farrell Library’s third floor and stand on the false floor built on top of the scaffolding that fills the Great Room, like Associate Dean Mike Haddock did recently, you can see that spot.
Up close, you can see that the debris has been cleared away. Through the holes in the attic floor you look down into the Academic Learning Center (ALC) where the student athletes met for study tables. ALC staff members were the ones who first smelled the smoke, even before the fire alarms went off.
While the charred walls are a clear mark of the destruction, this also serves to illustrate that the actual fire was contained to one location. The vast majority of the damage was from smoke and water.
How about some demolition? In Hale Library as we knew it, there were a lot of stairwells–many of them in tucked-away corners of the building that weren’t highly trafficked. They took up prime real estate, so in our renovation, we’re reclaiming the stairway highlighted in purple above.
Before we can renovate, though, it has to be demolished. It might not look very innovative right now, but workers have jack-hammered away concrete to clear away space for the Innovation Center on Hale Library’s first and second floors.
After the concrete was hauled out, crews used blowtorches to disassemble the frames of the metal staircases.
Here you can see that the demolition has cleared out the stairs between third and fourth floor. As of today, that entire stairwell has been emptied. Progress!
So, Associate Dean Mike Haddock (who takes 97% of the amazing photos we bring you) is back. The map below shows the northwest corner of the first floor. Mike, as represented by the small purple man, is standing in Historic Farrell Library’s Room 117, and the rectangles highlighted in pink represent shafts (called “chases,” in construction parlance) that extend
through the building from the first floor up to the fourth.
If he turns to face south, he sees a wall of Room 117 opposite the large bank of windows looks like this:
For most of us, the exciting part of construction comes when you get to look at the shiny, clean end product. We’re not there yet, but there’s really important work going on now so that the new Hale Library’s infrastructure can support all of those shiny, clean new spaces, like the previously mentioned Innovation Center.
Case in point regarding infrastructure: The steel beam over the doorway in the photo above is new reinforcement.
If we were to walk through that doorway, you’d find the chases that are highlighted in pink on the floor plan above. On second, third and fourth floors, guardrails have been built around those chases for safety, since they’re essentially like an open elevator shaft.
Over the last month, workers have been installing ductwork wrapped in insulation into those chases. The ductwork runs through the building from top to bottom.
This is just some of the construction work on Hale Library’s infrastructure. With improvements like these in place, the building will have improved air quality and more efficient heating and cooling.
Progress is happening. It’s not shiny and clean, but it’s important work that will take us one step forward to our new Hale Library.
As always, if you have questions about the process, please comment on the blog post or contact us at email@example.com!
To all of our student and faculty readers, happy spring break! We won’t be posting next week, but we’ll be back on March 19.
On Feb. 13, 2019, architects from PGAV joined K-State Libraries all-staff meeting to discuss next steps for the Hale Library renovation.
So in relation to the graphic above, we are at the end of Stage 3 when it comes to the first floor, and between Stages 1 and 2 for the other floors of the building.
Who are the architects in charge of this process? PGAV is based in Prairie Village, Kan., and they’ve worked on the design of more than 25 libraries, archives and special collections facilities in the last several decades.
In their work on Hale Library, PGAV has helped establish this timeline for target reopening dates:
- Portions of first floor: Fall 2019
- Second and fifth floor: Spring 2020
- Third and fourth floors: Fall 2020
- Historic Farrell Library, all floors: Late 2020/early 2021
Note that Farrell Library, the 1927 portion of the building that includes the Great Room, will open last: The plaster walls are still wet, and plaster dries very slowly. The process can’t be rushed if the integrity of the material is going to remain intact. The historic conservation of the Great Room murals and the woodwork is also very complicated.
But rest assured that the new Hale Library will incorporate the things that K-State students ask for most. We’ve spent nine months in concert with PGAV and the university community to develop spaces that fill a wide variety of needs.
Here are just a few of those desires as expressed by K-State students:
For years, noise complaints have been one of the top issues reported to the Hale Library Help Desk. Third floor was the quiet floor, but because of the way sound traveled through the building, it was never truly quiet.
Now we have the opportunity to rezone Hale Library’s noise levels: In the renovated building, first and second floors will be the most active and bustling. Third floor will be quiet, with some talking allowed, while fourth floor will be the place to go for really intense quiet. That means students like Nick might want to try a big table on third floor for an optimal study experience.
One of Hale Library’s amenities that students say they miss most since the fire is the white boards. They were always in high demand—which also meant we had to replace them frequently.
In the new building, students like Erin will have plenty of white board options to choose from. In fact, Hale Library will have entire walls covered in white boards, including long stretches on first and second floor. Those walls will be punctuated by strips of limestone that offer a glimpse of the 1955 addition’s exterior that was covered in subsequent expansions.
Hale Library spaces were repurposed multiple times over the years. In the most recent iteration, the first and second floors of Historic Farrell Library housed collections and office cubicles. That meant that the larger K-State community rarely had the opportunity to appreciate the gorgeous natural light and architectural details in those spaces.
In the renovated 1927 building, the first and second floors will be converted into public gathering spots featuring some of our high-use collections like juvenile literature. They will also be outfitted with plenty of soft seating and tables so students like Carlie can study in a room flooded with natural light.
Another retrofit: When the 1997 Hale Library renovation occurred, no one could have predicted how high the demand for outlets would be 30 years later: Today’s students want to charge their laptops and phones while studying. Since the entire building has to be rewired, we will be able to increase the number of outlets in Hale Library exponentially!
First-year students like Jacob haven’t ever experienced Hale Library. When it reopens, one of the major new improvements will be the reservable rooms that will accommodate groups of all sizes.
In fact, the first floor, which reopens in fall 2019, will feature at least a dozen of these spaces, and more will be spread throughout the building. Students will finally have a private spot equipped with video technology to practice presentations, conduct interviews and meet with study groups.
These are just a few of the types of improvements we’ve been planning with PGAV, and we look forward to featuring progress on construction of these spaces in the coming months.