New WVU library opens

January 11th, 2002

A new downtown library greeted West VirginiaUniversity students upon their return to campus Monday, Jan. 14, for the start of spring semester.

The five-floor, 124,000-square-foot library opened at 8 a.m., said Dean Frances OBrien.

Not all accommodations are in place, but library staff are available to help patrons, she added.

Beginning Monday, the library resumed their normal operating hours: 

  • Monday through Thursday8 a.m. to midnight

  • Friday8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

  • Saturday9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

  • Sunday  -1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

The new library is designed to meet the technological demands of the 21st century and consolidate library services previously offered in the Charles C. Wise Jr. Library, ChemistryResearchBuilding, and Colson and White halls. The structure is adjacent to Wise Library; a glass-encased atrium with a skylight joins the two buildings.

The facility features a primary service floor, complete with a circulation desk and reference materials; one floor for periodicals; two floors of stacks that hold 348,000 books; and a multimedia floor that houses government documents, electronic classrooms, and rooms for viewing videos or holding teleconferences. Technology available to library users includes 180 computers, 35 media-equipped workstations and 32 wireless laptops.

Library staff began conducting tours of the new facility beginning Monday. The tours will be at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. weekdays through Friday, Jan. 25. They will start at the reference desk near the main entrance. 

A dedication ceremony for the new facility will be Wednesday, April 10.

With the new library opening, workers will turn their attention to a year-long renovation of Wise Library, OBrien said.

Plans call for restoring that facility as a quasi-cultural center, with space set aside for the West Virginia and Regional History Collection and WVU s art collections. The structure �€which has retained its original limestone facade �€will also house general book collections,”wired”reading rooms and offices.

Portions of Wise Library will remain open to the public through Friday, Jan. 25, OBrien said.

The cost of both the new library and renovations is $36 million.

The new library is one of four construction projects included in the first phase of WVU ’s facilities master plan, a 10-year campus renewal program totaling more than $250 million. Other projects include a $26 million office complex the University has been leasing from the WVU Foundation since June, a $34 million StudentRecreationCenter that opened in July and a $47 million Life Sciences Building scheduled to open in May 2002.