Last year it was “Carl the Corban Clock Tower”. This year, and for the next few years perhaps, it will be Larry or Lucas the Library. Undoubtedly some clever, bored students will come up with a catchy name for the new $8-9 million library now being planned by Corban administration.
A construction date has not been set yet; the planning committee is refining drawings with the architect. The focus now is fundraising with administrators hoping that having a visual concept will bring enthusiasm from the community to the project, and with it, monetary contributions.
The school is running a capital campaign to raise $8-9 million for construction, and remodeling of the old building. The committee has been meeting with an architect roughly every week since July.
“We found that [the library] was too big,” said Vice President for Marketing Steve Hunt. “We had more square footage than we could afford.”
Now, the committee is planning at roughly 39,410 square feet. Refining the plans and condensing the building to a practical size is a lot like trying to pack a suitcase with a month’s worth of items; evaluating what is really needed and rearranging everything over and over again.
Of all the needs on campus, including a new dining hall and a student union center, the library was the next logical priority. Hunt explained that as the school’s programs and degrees continue to grow, so will the number of faculty. A new office building could be added, but then the school would still need a library. So the old library will be turned into offices and classrooms, a sort of two-birds-with-one-stone deal.
The lower half of the Academic Center isn’t exactly ready for an episode of Extreme Library Makeover. Library director Floyd Votaw said that they had to do some rearranging of shelves in past because the floors on the second story started to bow due to the heavy shelves that sat in the middle of the floors. If someone tried taking out any of its solid concrete walls, there would be a rumble and a big boom as the whole thing came crashing down.
Hunt said that Corban College is working toward becoming Corban University by 2011. Building a new library will help to establish academic credibility. The one the school has now is adequate, but could be better, he said. Members of the committee have been scoping out other libraries and doing hours of research as they look to the future.
Votaw said the committee understands that technology has become a major part of every college student’s life, and by the time the library is finished, it is hard to tell what sort of accommodations students will need when they’re doing their research.
The library currently has about 100,000 volumes and is 90-95 percent full. The collection is being sifted to weed out books not needed. Once the new library is built, Votaw predicts it will have about 150,000 volumes including additions to the fiction literature section. Despite the rise of technology and online texts, he said, “Literature is never outdated. I think most people still enjoy just sitting down with a book and reading.”
The new library will be in the wooded area just south of the Music House. The main entrance will be located just above Western Way, the drive that goes up to Schimmel. It will overlap the nature trail that runs from the Academic Center to Farrar and will have another entrance near PVG. It will be built in three levels, networking that part of campus with vertical and horizontal entrances, Hunt said.
Votaw said he wants the library to be as welcoming as possible, hence the lodge-like atmosphere, outdoor patios on the stairways, a coffee shop at the entrance, fireplaces on every level, plenty of comfy seating and study rooms. One study room, on the third level near PVG is planned to be open 24/7.
So far the initial reaction to the new library has been bittersweet among students. Some are strongly opposed to it like many were to the clock tower last year. Others look forward to seeing the new addition.
“I like the old building and all the million rooms, but I think if the school is going to put that much money into something, the library was a good choice,” said senior Elyse Wallace. “The students that already go to this school love the campus the way it is, but a new library will bring more respect to the school.”