As we inch closer and closer to the start of the fall semester, we wanted to share an update not just on the progress within Hale Library, but on the books that have been undergoing a rigorous cleaning and sorting process.
But now, the cleaned items are arriving back in Manhattan to be sorted. It’s quite a task…more than 147,000 boxes of books need to be reviewed for damage, sorted, and placed in call number order!
For the past few weeks, Libraries staff, along with employees of Belfor, a disaster recovery and restoration company, have been unpacking and sorting books on temporary shelves set up at Executive Court. The books on the shelves need to be checked by staff to make sure they are in the correct order. We like to call this shelf reading! While time intensive, this is an important step to make sure that people can find the items they are looking for.
Thanks to dedicated staff, the book sorting is going well! We hope to begin reshelving books in Hale Library in August, though items won’t be immediately available for use in part due to ongoing construction.
Construction in the library is also going at a good clip, and the upper floors are starting to come together.
Right now, we anticipate that floors three through five, as well as the Historical Farrell Library portions, will be opened to the public early next spring semester. It’s been very exciting to see the upper floors progress, and we can’t wait until we can share them with the community.
It’s exciting to have people back in Hale Library! With the opening of the second floor, we are working to adjust to a new sort of normal on campus and at the Libraries, while keeping visitors safe.
Our staff have many safety features in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, including required use of masks, extra cleaning supplies available to patrons and limited seating areas and computer stations. It has been very exciting to see people come into the space to walk around and explore the new floor.
In the Great Room, crew members are primarily focused on stripping and varnishing the bookshelves in the alcoves, as well as sanding the windowsills and completing any outstanding plaster work.
We are particularly excited about Joyce and Joe’s Cornerstone Café located in the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons on the first floor. The café is close to completion and the temporary walls separating the café from the rest of the floor have been taken down. The first floor will be open during the fall semester, but plans are still being finalized for the opening of the café, which will be run by K-State Housing and Dining Services.
As we jump into July, a lot of changes are coming to Hale Library. Besides the continuation of construction and progress on the building, the library will also welcome the public back for the first time since early March.
Starting July 1, the second floor of Hale Library will be open to visitors. Patrons must wear a mask or facial covering and practice social distancing while in the building. Services offered include access to the help desks, course reserves and computers. Extra steps will also be taken to promote safety and keep the environment clean. You can learn more about the reopening at our continuation of services page.
While the second floor will open to the public, the remaining floors continue to undergo a vigorous and rapid transformation.
In Joyce and Joe’s Cornerstone Café, the tile behind the counters was installed, and the fireplace was completed.
The Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab is undergoing more plaster work and drywall installation. The specific rooms for equipment and varying labs are starting to take shape—it’s only a matter of time until we can start moving in some tech!
In the Great Room, the protective boxes have been removed from the murals so that workers can perform plaster work around the edges. Removal of the boxes will also allow art restoration professionals to begin work on the murals later this fall.
The Virginia Carlson Family Reading Room will house the juvenile literature and curriculum materials collections. Virginia Carlson was a graduate of Kansas State College in 1952, a librarian and teacher. Virginia’s family has studied in Hale Library for more than four generations and they have invested in the building to honor her legacy. We are extremely grateful for their generosity!
The Libraries plan to have the first and second floors open to students and the community at the start of the fall semester, with the upper floors opening collectively in early spring of 2021. Keep an eye on this blog for more stories and updates as we get closer to the new school year!
This week, we thought it would be interesting to look back at all the stories and updates we’ve posted in the last two years and share the top ten most viewed blog posts. A lot of progress has been made since the 2018 fire in Hale Library, and it is rewarding to see what stories have most resonated with the community following our story.
Below are the top ten most popular blog posts we’ve ever published, along with a quick synopsis of what each post focuses on. Feel free to click around and explore!
This was our blog’s very first post, written just a few short weeks after the fire in Hale Library. In the aftermath of the fire, it quickly became apparent to us that we would have quite a story to share, and that the community wanted information about what happened to the library. We also knew people would want to see progress as we began the long journey to restore the building. In this first post, we shared the details of the fire, the heroic actions of the first responders who worked to save the library and pictures of leadership surveying the smoke and water damage.
Another early post, this entry shared more pictures of the library after much of the damage had been surveyed. During this time, construction revolved mainly around demolition and removing damaged ceiling, dry wall and carpeting. A lot of the technology and furniture was damaged from soot and had to be disposed of as well.
This spring, we shared new photos of some of the spaces in Hale Library that were near to completion. This included Joyce and Joe’s Cornerstone Café. We also highlighted the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab and efforts by the Digital Fabrication Lab to create face shields for local healthcare workers battling COVID-19.
After the fire, the books in Hale Library sustained damage from water and soot. The wet books underwent a very delicate and special process to prepare them for transportation to a cleaning facility in Texas. Check out this post to learn more about how wet books are saved.
The fire in Hale Library made it impossible for students to continue studying in the building. Students were suddenly looking for new places across campus to study, and so we worked with a student, Brenna, to share good study spots that students could make use of while Hale Library was unavailable.
We shared this post just a few weeks before the pandemic hit—at the time, we were all prepped for the second floor to open. As such, this post mainly shares photos of the second floor being outfitted with soft seating and computer spaces. We also shared pictures of the lattice work wood ceiling being finalized in the Great Room.
In January of 2019, Hale Library and the emergency first responders who responded to the fire were profiled in “Rescue Heroes: Global Response Team.” The episode gives an overview of the fire, including interviews from rescue and recovery personnel, students and faculty. You can watch the segment highlighting Hale Library at the YouTube video we link to in the post.
In late April, we shared a building update about further progress on the library. The scaffolding in the Great Room came down around that time and the wooden ceiling was completed. Purple lighting was also installed throughout the first and second floors of the building.
After the fire, more than 80 K-State Libraries staff and faculty were left without access to an office space. Thankfully, more than 13 offices and departments graciously welcomed our staff into temporary work spaces. In this post, we shared photos about where everybody ended up.
Close to the Thanksgiving holiday in 2018, K-State Libraries staff visited the Manhattan Fire Department Headquarters to say thank you for their work in saving Hale Library. The post features some of the firefighters who helped combat the fire, along with photos of them in action.
As summer approaches, we are closely following the rapid progress being made in Hale Library. This week, we’d like to highlight sections of the library that you might not have seen recent photos of, particularly the upper floors.
But first, an exciting update regarding the Great Room: the original bookshelves that were in the east and west alcoves are undergoing a vigorous repair process!
In other areas of Historic Farrell Library, further plaster work is being done on the first and second floors. In order to score the plaster, the radiators had to be pulled out. However, they will be repainted and eventually put back into place.
Also on the third floor, work continues on multiple office spaces and the graduate student study rooms, located near the entrance to the Great Room. The study rooms will be in the same location they were previously, but they will be much improved.
The Academic Learning Center (ALC) on the fourth floor is also coming along. The ALC is a partnership between K-State Libraries and K-State Athletics that provides space for student athletes to receive academic support, including one-on-one tutoring.
On the fifth floor, mobile shelving is being removed in the Special Collections space in order to replace the mechanical system that moves the shelving units. The system is under the wood flooring and was damaged during the fire.
As construction continues on these spaces, the Libraries are also working on a plan to reopen the completed areas of the building later this summer. Keep an eye on our website and the Libraries’ social media feeds for more information as it becomes available.
Two years ago, on May 22, 2018 at 4 p.m., things at Hale Library changed forever.
The fire and the resulting damage from water and smoke impacted several sections of the library, including Historic Farrell Library and the Great Room. As a result, nearly 130 employees found themselves out of their regular workspace and into more than 13 temporary work spaces throughout campus.
As a way of recognizing the immense progress that has been made in the two years since the fire, we wanted to share photos that show the tremendous progress we’ve made. As we get closer and closer to completing the renovation and restoration of the library, we hope you find as much inspiration from these photos as we do.
The catastrophic damage to the library was a hit to the entire K-State community, as Hale Library is often viewed as the heart of campus, and a place where everyone is welcome to share a quiet moment of reflection or study. At the time, it seemed that the incredible task of restoring the 550,000-square-foot building would be the greatest challenge the library and its staff have ever faced.
But now, two years later, the challenge lies not in finishing the restoration of Hale Library, but in preparing for what comes next.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, construction continues on Hale Library at a rapid pace. Every week, the changes at the library become more and more visible—we would say that the library is starting to look like its old self again, but that wouldn’t be true. Instead, Hale Library is beginning to look like its new best self, a mix of the historic and the future.
On the first and second floors, the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab begins to take shape, introducing a creative space that will open new doors for students and patrons as they tackle projects with the latest technologies. On the third floor, the historic Great Room is being restored to its former glory, but the acorn finials hanging from the ceiling are newly varnished, the murals are being repaired with the latest restoration techniques and desperately needed electrical updates flow throughout the space. Similarly, the first and second floors of Historic Farrell Library will also be restored to showcase their beautiful architectural details, but the spaces will have new purpose as they house distinctive collections and comfortable study space with plenty of natural light.
It’s these changes and more, that are beginning to reveal a next generation library.
We want to say a huge thank you to the library and IT staff for their patience throughout this journey, as well as their unwavering dedication to continuing to provide quality service to the community. We also want to extend our gratitude to the entire K-State community for their endless support.
In a year from now, on the third anniversary, it’s exciting to think about what it will be like in Hale Library. By then, the full library is expected to be open to the public and students and staff will once again have a place on campus to call home. The ability to see the light at the end of the tunnel is keeping our staff, in particular, positive and resilient. We also hope that by then, life will have returned to some kind of normalcy for us all.
It hasn’t been an easy road to restore Hale Library, nor has it been a short one. But we’re confident that the results will be well worth the wait.
Spring is in full swing and we’re excited to share pictures of how things are growing at Hale Library!
Many projects are being fleshed out further and some spaces, including the Great Room, Joyce and Joe’s Cornerstone Café and the Sunderland Foundation Innovation Lab are visibly coming together. The Innovation Lab in particular is starting to take shape as crew members install drywall and create the rooms that will house technologies new to the library and campus.
The Innovation Lab will be available to all students, staff and faculty at K-State, giving them access to new technologies such as digital media production, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, immersive digital environments and other emerging innovations. The lab will be located on the first and second floors of the library with a staircase connecting the two spaces.
The space also will include 14 3D printers, a Glowforge laser cutter and a studio that will allow users to record high-quality video with a single touch of a button. Two of the 3D printers will be FormLab SLA printers; these printers use ultraviolet light to create a strong but flexible resin often used for healthcare or engineering materials. The remaining 12 Ultimaker printers create materials by stacking melted material layer by layer.
The virtual reality room will allow visitors to explore their projects using 3D technology. For example, an architecture student would be able to view a 3D rendering of a building project as if it were right in front of them.
Crew members are continuing plaster work on the Great Room and installing light fixtures. With every new day, the space is looking more and more trim and polished!
We hope you enjoy seeing the progress in Hale Library as much as we do, and we are thrilled that we are able to obtain regular photos to share with the K-State community. Our next blog post will be an extra special one, as we look at the immense amount of progress that has been made since the Hale Library fire nearly two years ago. Stay tuned!
It’s a new year, we are 20 months post-fire and we just started the spring 2020 semester at K-State. We are feeling energized! Over the course of this year we will watch as Hale Library nears the finish line of a two and a half year recovery, restoration and renovation project. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and we are amazed at the progress made in just the last few months.
Up on the third floor, construction has started on a new 60-person classroom for library instruction. The large instruction room is made possible through fundraising efforts by the Friends of the K-State Libraries.
It’s been a while since we’ve checked in on the progress of the upper floors at Hale Library. The third, fourth and fifth floors are in varying stages of construction, but no matter where you look you can see progress.
As we make our way up through the building, third floor is currently one of the most active construction areas.
As we move up to the fourth floor, much of the space is utilized as a wood shop to repair and restore the wood from the third floor Great Room.
And lastly, the fifth floor, which saw the least amount of damage, will receive a few upgrades. In addition to new carpet and ceiling the Libraries will create a new digitization lab thanks to a generous contribution from the Butler Family Community Foundation.
A new seminar room will also be added for the Morse Department of Special Collections. Previously, staff had to conduct instruction in the middle of their reading room where other patrons were also conducting research.
We are incredibly thankful for the gifts that have made this progress possible. It is exciting to think that at this time next year, we might be sitting in a fully renovated Hale Library! Support is still needed to fund improvements to Hale Library. On this Giving Tuesday (Dec. 3), consider a gift to Help for Hale and support our renovation efforts.
Most of Hale Library’s second floor is scheduled to open during the spring 2020 semester. We took a peek at the progress and could tell the new space is really starting to take shape!
Since there is now a direct entrance to the first floor, we are moving the second floor entrance a little further to the West. This will allow us to re-purpose some space for seating, create a better pathway to our help desks and shorten the distance of the hallway leading into the building.
When students walk into the second floor they will immediately see our new Library and IT Help desks. These two services will now be co-located providing campus with more convenience and better assistance.
Just for fun, we also took a peek inside the new cafe space on the first floor. Joyce and Joe’s Cornerstone Cafe will also open during the spring 2020 semester.
In other exciting news, we announced yesterday that the first floor Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons will begin 24/5 hours starting Sun., Nov. 3. This is another service made possible by renovation efforts. We could not be more thrilled to bring this service back for K-State students. Happy studying!
We are in the thick of the fall semester, and the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons on the first floor of Hale Library has been busy with students working on projects and studying for exams. In fact, during the last few weeks the first floor has averaged more than 7,600 visits each week.
The experience of returning to Hale Library felt like coming home for those students who were at K-State before the fire.
We’re paying close attention to how students are using the new spaces to help us plan for the rest of the building. In fact, a team of librarians are conducting an assessment study. They record student use of the space multiple times each day. This data helps us understand which areas and types of furniture are the most heavily utilized. The results will impact the remaining floors.
One feature that has been a big hit with students is the abundance of whiteboards, some of which stretch from floor to ceiling.
Ah, yes. Biology 341. Perhaps no one gets as much use out of the whiteboards as these students. But, do they really need floor to ceiling whiteboards? Students like Danielle have found them useful!
The Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons also includes new technology. Dozens of large monitors are spread throughout the floor that students can connect to their devices.
While students are excited about the first floor of Hale, they can’t wait to see the rest of the library. Students are looking forward to the new quiet floors that will be located on the third and fourth floors.
The second floor of Hale Library is scheduled to open during the spring semester. The rest of the building should be complete by the end of 2020. Support is still needed to for the remaining restoration and renovation of Hale Library. Donate online to the Help for Hale fund!
A few short weeks ago, we opened the Dave and Ellie Everitt Learning Commons on the first floor of Hale Library. As we watched students walk through the doors for the first time we saw lots of jaws dropping, many audible gasps, and we even witnessed a few tears of happiness.
Since the opening, Hale Library has been bustling with students thankful for the new space to study and collaborate. These spaces wouldn’t be possible without the 2,400 donors that have given to the project so far.
Now that the first floor has opened, the Libraries must turn their attention to the remaining four floors which still require philanthropic support to create spaces as impactful as the first floor. Donations can be made online to support the renovation and restoration of the rest of the building.
The Friends of the K-State Libraries have also been strong supporters of the renovation efforts with $250,000 dedicated to the project to date. Since 1984 the Friends have advocated for a strong library system that enriches the student and faculty experience. The Friends have dedicated their efforts over the past several years towards raising funds for improvements to Hale Library. The Libraries and K-State students are grateful for their efforts.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Willie fills in at Library Help. May 9, 2016.
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.
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!
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.
A construction worker uses a remote-controlled mini excavator with a jackhammer attachment to tear out concrete on the first floor. April 23, 2019.
“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?
A worker jackhammers out damaged tile in the first floor sunflower entryway. April 15, 2019.
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 email@example.com.
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