Over summer, the library has been working to resolve some issues with the downstairs quiet area that can be attributed to water damage. Formerly, the downstairs section of the library had concrete floors and rows of shelves without any place for students to work. This past week desks were put back downstairs so that students could work, but progress still needs to be made to restore the area.
According to Angela Quick, the library director, the water problems were over the course of the summer, but they really started near the end of May and into early June. The rains in the earlier part of the year caused some speculation about flooding, but in actuality the water issues came from the heating and air conditioning system.
Additionally, a second rumor that arose was the idea that mold was in the library based on the smell. Quick stated that the downstairs section is perfectly safe. According to the Physical Plant, Orion Environmental Solutions, a third party group that checks for mold and hazards came in and deemed the space to have nothing dangerous for a building built in the 1930s.
“The report is available to anyone who wants to look at it.” Quick said.
The reason for allergen issues were most likely the dust that had been dislodged due to the old carpet being removed, Quick added.
With the carpet removed, Serv-Pro a group that specializes in water damage came in and cleaned up from the water problems that started in August. The flooring is concrete rather than the carpet that was there before. Future plans are being looked at by administration for flooring that won’t be affected should such things occur again, Quick said.
As for the aesthetic aspects of the downstairs study areas, there won’t be a great deal of improvement. Most of the furniture that replaced the desks and chairs that were destroyed with the water damage came from the Anderson renovations and from dorm surplus. There aren’t any plans currently to work on the downstairs during the school year.
However, there is hope that there can be improvements, especially once the faculty is able to move back into Anderson over J-Term. While the plans are still tentative, there is some hope from administration for possible expansion downstairs that could lead to more quiet areas for those who need them, like Ashley White, a sophomore.
White as a commuter sometimes has difficulty finding somewhere she can work and study. The commuter’s lounge, according to White, is too loud with the various noises both inside and outside from Isaac’s below, the living room still filtering in noise from Isaac’s, and the upstairs part of the library does not give the privacy that many students crave.
The noise in the library fluxes according to the time of day, which can be startling for those who are trying to focus. White said that the downstairs part of the library was perfect and since the first semester of her freshman year, she had been utilizing it. Whenever questioned about whether she minded the furniture’s origins, she said, “As long as we have some place to study and sit down, we don’t need to worry about the state of the furniture as long as it’s reliable.”
While the library still needs to work on the renovations in the downstairs area, the study area is starting to take shape again and will hopefully become the safe haven that many students have come to appreciate.