Over the past few weeks, students have begun to experience the effects of the renovations being made to Rush Rhees Library.

“The circulation department area has a brand new look,” Library Facility Manager Sally Roche said. “The biggest changes include 36 new work stations, new computers and furniture. The whole renovated area also has updated carpeting, new comfy chairs, new lighting, freshly painted walls, a new ceiling and a coffee table.”

Before, students could only choose from Microsoft Word, Excel, Power Point and Internet Explorer. Now, the smaller flat-screen computers have a wide variety of programs and students can save their work on the desktop.

Many students have noticed the changes and are very excited about them.

“It definitely needed to be renovated,” junior Ashwin Garlapati said. “The new room is more colorful and adds flavor to the library.”

Many library-goers, however, were not phased by the changes.

“I didn’t even notice that anything had changed, except for maybe the walls,” sophomore Heather Mazursky said. “But I guess I didn’t really use this room at all last year.”

Some of those who did notice the changes had a negative reaction. “I hate it because it’s hard to see everyone,” junior Caitlin Wiley said. “Plus, it’s hot in here now – the cubicles are like ovens.”

Some students remarked that the money used for the renovations could have been applied elsewhere.

“I noticed the second I walked in – it was very collegiate in a dry, academic sort of way,” senior Emily Nunes said. “It’s nice, but it used to be brighter and there seems to be a lack of studying space on the first floor. I just think UR’s money could have been directed to more relevant areas.”

In reality, UR did not pay for any of the renovation.

“All of the projects were obtained by development funding from outside sources,” Roche said. “The newly renovated rooms are all part of our development work.”

Even though donors funded the renovations, they did not come without a cost.

“The donors seem to be more concerned with the aesthetics of the room rather than the practicality of it,” reference librarian student aide Eugene Vaynberg said. “All the things that are on the walls are up because the donors wanted them to be there. We have no say.”

The room across from the WellesBrown Room, which is located on the left hand side of the library’s main lobby, is also being refurbished and has been renamed the “Hawkins-Carlson Room” in honor of those who funded it. It is to be formally inaugurated on Nov. 10.

The Hawkins-Carlson Room was formerly an open area connected to the circulation reference department.

“[It] is now closed off as a separate room that will be used for bigger presentations that can’t fit in the Welles-Brown Room,” Vaynberg said. “The room will be open to regular study but will be able to transform into a 225 seat auditorium. The area will have a look similar to the Welles-Brown Room except it won’t be as comfy.”

As for the rest of the library, most of the historic rooms have been renovated, according to Roche. “The Welles-Brown Room and the main lobby were renovated in early 2001,” she said. “These last two projects help better connect all the rooms of the first floor, making them all up-to-date and new.”

Permutt can be reached at spermutt@campustimes.org.

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