Stetson-Sawyer project delay allows for review

While construction of the new Stetson-Sawyer Library remains indefinitely delayed due to the economic climate, design plans for the Stetson-Sawyer Building Project continue to be reviewed and finalized. “We are still awaiting sufficient improvement in the economy so that the College feels comfortable moving forward with procuring project funding,” said David Pilachowski, College librarian and Stetson-Sawyer Project Building Committee co-chair. “[However,] the delay in the project has given the architects and the College time to think further about and improve the design.”

Since last fall, the College has been working closely with the architects of the project in the design review process, which has involved the examination and revising of hundreds of pages of documents and drawings detailing the locations of services, offices and collections, the design of built-in furniture and the nature and locations of the electrical, mechanical and technological features of the building.

The College’s collaboration in the review process has primarily involved the College librarians, who have been working with the architects since the earliest stages of the project, staff from the Office for Information Technology (OIT), a Stetson-Sawyer planning group including members from a number of the College administration offices, the Library Committee and College Council.

A number of the major interior layout and design elements have been confirmed, including the location and layout of the café on the lower level, the use of wood instead of perforated metal panels in the new major atrium and the function of the Preston room as a reading room containing a variety of current journals – though with more seating and fewer periodicals than originally planned. In addition, plans have been confirmed for wooden floors, which will most likely be maple, and a combination of brick, concrete and metal screening that will be used to hang art for the walls in the major north-south corridor of the building.
According to Pilachowski, all revisions of the design at this point have been positive developments, since additional design changes could result in expensive redesign costs from the architects and engineers.

According to Dinny Taylor, chief technology officer, the delay has been useful for double-checking plans for the Center for Media Initiatives (CMI) that will exist in the new library. “The delay has given us time to review plans very carefully to make sure we are providing the best services possible to both faculty and students in the new CMI,” she said. “It takes a tremendous amount of time to review every detail and now we have been able to do that.”

“The design for the new building is for the most part complete,” Pilachowski said. “We are very pleased with the design as it now stands.”

The detailed construction documents, which the architects and their consulting engineers have been working on over the last seven months, are expected to be completed by mid-June, and once the College has received the finalized documents, an independent cost-estimating firm will determine if the project has remained on budget.

Until construction is restarted, Stetson Hall will remain closed to the public due to the construction work already undergone in the Stetson additions, which includes the removal of some flooring and interior walls as well as completed asbestos abatement. However, some additional preparatory work will still need to be done once construction is authorized. For now, the building remains empty. “We are maintaining a reasonable temperature to preserve interior finishes and equipment, safety systems to protect the building, and minimal lighting for safety and convenience,” said David Dower, director of Facilities planning and construction.
Bound journals will also continue to be moved from Sawyer to the Stetson-Sawyer Project’s Library Shelving Facility about two miles north of campus, where the majority of the Chapin Library and College Archives collections are currently being stored until the opening of the new library. To accommodate those who require them, however, Sawyer has begun to provide PDF formats – single articles as well as entire volumes – of the moved journals. During the summer, many of the College’s U.S. government documents will also be moved out of Sawyer to the facility on Simonds Road.