Love that new library smell

Jared Schultz, Staff Writer

The fourth phase of construction is set to begin on Conn Library within the next few weeks, meaning the final movement to turn the battered rooms into functional student resources draws near.
The library’s renovations were funded in 2012 by three major sources: state appropriations, the Wayne State College Foundation, and the LB309 act, more commonly known as the Nebraska cigarette and tobacco tax. “The construction began in March 2014, and we’re much closer to the end than the beginning.” Library Director David Graber said.
“The building was in terrible shape. It no longer met our needs. There was a tremendous amount of asbestos in the building, and severe energy efficiency problems caused by the outdated windows and ventilation system led to mold, which are both ADA compliance issues.”
In addition to the update complying with government regulations, the construction is also amending the building’s original architectural flaws. U.S. Conn Library was built in the early 1950s when the traditional style was closer to a warehouse than what most people are accustomed to now. With the renovations, the library is moving farther away from a simple storage area for books and periodicals  and closer to a collaborative learning environment. Turning the building’s four study rooms into 25, each with the ability to make full use of technology, future-proofs the facility to keep up with rising enrollment numbers and technological requirements.
While the new study rooms can’t be fully used yet due to ongoing construction and the nature of functioning as temporary office space, the updates are already readily apparent.
“Basically every single thing you can see in the library is new,” Demetris Bumgardner said, a circulation desk attendant at the library. “The new shelves are quite useful, they have a lot more space and are movable. There’s just a lot more cleaning to do; with the construction, dust gets everywhere.”
Phase four will take place just after Labor Day with the only remaining untouched area of the library beginning its renovation. Students will have two weeks to visit the second floor of the south side to get a final look at the old library.
The construction is looking to be all wrapped up by June of next year.