First of Four Phases Gets Committee’s OK
In April, the Chancellor’s Capital Review Committee approved Phase One of the library building project, ensuring the next chapter of the Library’s development.
“This kicks off this multistage library building project,” Dean John Wilkin said of the action. “And now, in front of us, we have the prospect of this gorgeous, secure, climate-controlled facility for rare and archival collections.”
In Phase One, students and staff will vacate the Undergraduate Library setting by 2022, with plans in place to align and consolidate services for them within the Main Library. UGL will then transform into a space for special collections, including a state-of-the-art vault for archival items, collaborative work spaces, a reading room, and exhibits.
Subsequent stages will then be implemented, each dependent on completing the previous one. The stages (in chronological order) are:
- PHASE TWO: Demolition and reconstruction of sections one through five of the Main Stacks, preceded by the relocation of University Archives and the Rare Books & Manuscript Library into the renovated space of the former Undergraduate Library
- PHASE THREE: Repurposing of the Main Library into a collections-centered, research hub for the humanities and social sciences
- PHASE FOUR: Addition of a roof (of a height and angle so as not to disturb the neighboring Morrow Plots) to the Special Collections building; additional vault added
Funding for Phase One’s Special Collections building—estimated at nearly $50 million—is proceeding apace. The university has provided more than half of that amount, along with several million in deferred maintenance funds; the Library has contributed $3 million in building funds from its budget; and approximately $6.5 million in donor gifts has been gathered. While initial projections saw the entire project finished four years from now, revised estimates now see early 2024 as the time frame for completing Phase One.
“We are very grateful,” Wilkin said, “to the university and to all of the other people who have helped us make this possible—to bring to life something extraordinary in the history of the university and the Library.”
For continual updates on the project, visit the website at library.illinois.edu/library-building-project.
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