As renovations take place all over campus this summer, students returning in the fall will find things looking a little different.
Possibly the largest renovation of the summer, the USF Library is undergoing a project estimated at just over $2 million to remodel most of the first floor and lobby to create more work stations and study space for students.
Tom Cetwinski, director of administrative services for the Library, said the project will be completed in time for the start of classes in fall and will give the first floor of the Library a “whole different look.”
Much of the first floor will see new lighting, carpeting and furniture in addition to approximately 35 to 50 more computer workstations and new computers with multimedia programs, part of the Library’s Digital Learning Studio.
“What really encouraged us (to renovate) is to make more efficient use of the space,” Cetwinski said. “It gave us the ability to increase the number of computers and printers in the learning commons.”
The side of the Library to the right of the entrance near Starbucks will feature more computers and printers for student use. The expansion of the Digital Learning Studio will be the largest part of the renovation.
While the space on the second floor will remain as is, Cetwinski said the space on the first floor will be added to give students access to the multimedia technology during the Library’s hours in addition to the studio’s existing hours, which are currently limited for instruction purposes.
Last year, the Library opened a facility on the second floor to serve students interested in learning new multimedia programs for classes. This facility includes high-tech computers with the latest Adobe Creative Suite as well as recording equipment such as microphones and cameras for student checkout.
Since its opening, Cetwinski said the initiative has been “very successful” and hopes more computers on the first floor will make it “more visible” for students.
Though the Digital Learning Studio is funded in part by the $5.25 per credit hour Student Technology fee, Cetwinski said the $2 million for the renovation comes from the state Capital Improvement Trust Fund, which is used to enhance facilities specifically for student use.
Another issue the renovation would solve is the amount of study space — or lack thereof.
“There are times where we are at 125 percent capacity,” he said. “… We are always looking for ways in which to increase our capacity in that regard.”
Kevin Pierre-Louis, a junior majoring in biology, said his biggest criticism of the Library is the crowds he sometimes encounters when using the computers for printing.
“Trying to find a computer is hard and then you have to face the long lines for printing,” he said.
While Pierre-Louis said he sometimes spends up to 15 minutes in line at the printers, graduate student Deepti Bisht said she has spent some time waiting to get a study room.
“I struggle with getting a room for studying. I think more are really needed,” she said.
After the renovations, Cetwinski said the first floor should be more accommodating with more seating, computers and printers. Additionally, as furniture is moved around on the first floor, he said Library staff will try to increase the seating space on the fifth floor.
During the renovation, printers and computers from the first floor have been moved to the second and third floors. The IT help desk will now be located near the Library’s exit doors.
For more information on the renovation, visit the Library’s website at lib.usf.edu.