Thursday, September 28

Campus adjusts to library closure due to flooding

By Michelle Loria and Grace Poole 

Staff Writers

Waggoner Library will likely be closed the rest of the semester after a burst pipe flooded parts of the building over Christmas break.

The closed space, which included a coffee shop, has limited places students have on campus to study and hang out, but Trevecca President Dan Boone said administration is working with the insurance company and contractors to get the space fixed, and possibly even reconfigured to better serve students. 

“We’re doing a significant study to see if we’re going to reconfigure the library for student use,” he said.

Some of the questions Boone said his team is asking include exploring if there is a way to do a better set up for the coffee shop, if stacks could be moved to create more study space and if there are options for adding more computer stations.

There is no final cost on the damage.

“We have no clue what the total bill on it is, but we do have indications that it’s going to be above $2 million,” said Boone. “It’d be a miracle for it to be under that.”

The university is still working with contractors to test the moisture in books, art drawings and furniture. There is damage to the flooring, ceiling tiles, walls and the elevator’s electrical system. 

But, he said the university is looking at how to best spend insurance money to reopen the best version of the library.

“We don’t have new money to put into the library, but it won’t matter to insurance where we put tables or chairs or where we put a coffee bar,” he said. 

There’s no official timeline for reopening, but Boone said contractors have advised the university to plan to be without the space for the whole semester. 

Some good news that Boone said he was eager to learn is that the university archives were in a sealed vault designed to protect from fire and water, and there is no damage to any university archives. 

But as officials continue to assess and plan, some students said the lack of common space is impacting them this semester. 

Daira Santos, a freshman psychology major, expressed her frustration with finding a quiet place to study. 

“Technically there are no quiet spaces where we can study. The Hub is always crowded, and the bottom floor of Bud Robinson is always full of people because of Starbucks,” said Santos. 

Most buildings do not operate on the same late-night schedule as the library did. 

“The library closed at 12 a.m., but most buildings, especially Bud Robinson, closes at 9 or 10 p.m.,” said Matías Bedoian, a sophomore biology major. 

According to an email sent out by the Center for Student Development at the beginning of the semester, additional study spaces and furniture have been set up on the third floor of Jernigan and in the Bud Robinson building. 

Jernigan will stay open until midnight, and Bud Robinson until 10 p.m..

“Study areas are also available in residence halls and the Mackey lounge,” stated the email.

Other than being a study space, the library was a place to meet with friends and classmates. 

“The fact that the library is closed complicates things a bit when it comes to meeting study groups or friends,” said Moises Jaimes, a freshman psychology major.  

In addition to the space lost on campus, this also impacted students who took advantage of the resources offered by the library. 

“The library offered a service to borrow whiteboards, markers, chargers and this is something I used to take advantage of,” said Bedoian.

Commuters are also affected by the closing since they can no longer count on a private and quiet place to be, which is the case of Arantxa Goncalves, a freshman graphic design major.  

“I’m doing my homework in my car because Bud Robinson, the only alternative to the library, is crowded all the time, and it’s impossible for me to concentrate and focus on my work with all the noise,” said Goncalves. 

Considering the number of students looking for some privacy on campus and places to study and do group work, students in leadership are trying to spread the word about alternative places students could go. 

“There are a lot of students that don’t know that [commuters] are allowed to go to lobbies of the residence halls. They are allowed to be in empty classrooms. It’s just letting them know all their options,” said Liliana Castro, commuter council president.

Additionally, the library has created resources on their website to let students know what’s available and where to find it.  

“[The library staff] are still available through our online chat, meet with a librarian and in-person consultations. Books can still be borrowed through a library loan, which takes some time. It is not immediate, but it is an option for students who need to borrow a book, and laptops are also available for those who need them,” said Andrea Fowler, director of library services. 

Fowler said students are not the only people on campus looking forward to a reopening of the library. 

“I love having an active library where people want to come. So, when the library opens back up, we want [students] to come back,” she said.

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