Remember when a renovated Pius Library was just a dream?
Last year, SGA President Courtney Anvender released a statement to students saying that the green light was given to a major renovation of SLU’s Pius library. The administration, at the time, agreed to undergo the renovations of Pius in a two-phased approach. Phase I was supposed to bring renovations to Pius Library, but the current renovations have since been plagued by major delays in the process.
Phase II of the renovation project was meant to explore the concept of building an Information Commons onto Pius. The Information Commons would have been a building with state-of-the-art study space that is focused on functionality and design. This would have replaced the current roundabout behind Pius. However, the iCommons has since been scratched from the project due to budget reasons. Phase II of the project now only consists of building a new entrance on the south side.
We don’t need a new entrance. Are students too lazy to walk to the other side of the library, or is this the administration’s way of making the library look “new”? Overall, the library will not look much different from the outside since the iCommons was stripped away.
After looking through various documents I have received over the past year, I came to notice something about the renovation process — the dates of completion keep changing. First, in his January 2012 message to students, staff, faculty and trustees, University President Lawrence Biondi, S.J., stated, “The expected completion date for this project is March 1, 2012.”
Last time I checked the calendar, as of this issue coming out, it is now March 29, 2012, which would mean that the library is currently one month over the due date for the entire project to be completed. Renovation is still occurring on the fourth and fifth floors. How long does it take to pull up some carpet, paint, install a few new outlets and bring in pre-built furniture?
With all the major aspects of this renovation being scratched, it is unacceptable for the renovation to be this far behind schedule. With the original due date set by Biondi, the renovations would have been completed long before midterms. Either the writer who most likely wrote the document for Biondi wrote the wrong date, or the construction crew SLU decided to hire sucks at following deadlines and should promptly be fired. Either way, having the renovations completed by March 1 would have helped the entire student body have more study space, but now, sadly, we are stuck waiting to see when construction will ever be completed.
The next two dates stated for the completion of the project appeared in March 2012’s Volume 5 Issue 6 and the student Spring 2012 issue of SLU’s University Libraries newsletters. The March 2012 issue stated, “[library renovations] will commence around June 2012,” around being the key word. Notice how the University no longer used an exact date.
Second, in the March 2012 issue, it is says that it was estimated that construction on the fourth and fifth floors would be completed on March 16. Work on second and third floors should have begun on March 19, with an estimated completion date of April 27. Work on the first floor, according to the issue, is scheduled to begin on April 30.
Again to reiterate the timeline, the University president said completion would commence on March 1, 2012, but now it is not estimated to be completed until “around” June. However, I no longer see that as being realistic due to the renovation already missing two more key deadlines. The fourth and fifth floors were supposed to be completed in the new timeline on March 16, but as of this issue, they are still under construction, which means that the second and third floor completion deadline is likely to be pushed back, thus pushing back the first floor deadline, and ultimately the overall completion deadline.
Last time I checked, adding new furniture, flooring and ceiling, along with increasing the number of three-prong outlets should be a regular update, not considered to be a “major” renovation. SLU’s misconception of “major” renovation is emphasized even more in the fact that many students will be fooled into thinking they spent a lot of money on a “new” library, but in reality the University cut as many things from the original proposal as they could in order to save money. Students deserve a library to be proud of. If SLU’s own Student Ambassadors don’t even show the inside of the library on campus tours, why should we as current students thank the University for promoting a service that should be completed on a regular basis?
Dustin Paluch is a junior in the John Cook School of Business.