Moving day at Morris

By Gus Bode

After much delay, Morris Library staff’s furniture is finally being moved in.

The first of 13 truckloads of shelving arrived Monday and David Carlson, dean of library affairs, said shelving on the fifth floor would be about 80 percent done Thursday.

The first shipment of office systems furniture was accepted Tuesday, and most of it has been set up in the fifth floor’s offices and group study rooms.

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“They have made stunning progress,” Carlson said. “They’ve really just zipped along.”

The third, fourth and fifth floors, which were slated to be open to students at the beginning of spring semester, are behind schedule by about two months, Carlson said.

The $48 million renovation project, which began in January 2006, recently underwent several delays because of unanticipated work with the new elevator system’s contractor; however, Carlson said the system was also officially accepted as complete by Carlson Thursday.

Kevin Davie of library affairs said workers are sending steam through the building’s pipes, warming them and doing a walkthrough of the new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

“They’ve been telling us that the basement should benefit from this,” he said.

If they have a successful run-through Friday, Davie said they might be able to use the system to heat the upper floors of the building as soon as next week.

“Unfortunately, here on the first floor, we won’t see much benefit from it because the duct work hasn’t been installed yet,” he said. “We’re in the way, so once we get moved they’ll be able to install that.”

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The building is currently being heated by a combination of the old HVAC system, electric blowers and a propane-based system.

Carlson said the fourth floor should be officially accepted soon, but the third floor is a much larger floor and not nearly as far along.

“Four and five are part of the tower, so they’re smaller in terms of square footage,” Carlson said. “Three is the top floor of the bigger floors and it includes some of the new space, so there was a lot more work to be done there. We’ll be doing a lot of other work before we move along to three.”

Of the library’s seven floors, the basement and first floor are the only ones accessible to students. The third floor is the furthest from completion and, although it is slated to be turned over to library staff in January, Carlson said it would take quite a bit of work to have it done on schedule.

Carlson said they are not focusing on the second floor at this point, but he said about 50 percent of the drywall is up and the floor is seeing progress.

When the first floor is finished, it will include a coffee commons and a 24-hour lounge and computer lab. Tim Kenny, a junior from Chicago studying accounting, said having 24-hour access to the computer lab could be beneficial to him because he doesn’t have a printer.

“Also, people work at different times, some in the morning hours, so this will give them access, too,” Kenny said.

Despite the blue tarps flapping in the wind on the south side of the library, Carlson said the outside of the building is about 98 percent done and is mostly lacking a specific type of glass that has not been received.

Although the curriculum materials center, the map library and government documents will be moved from McLafferty Annex when floors three, four and five are complete, Carlson said those three things only comprise about 10 percent of what is in the annex.

Cody Azotea, a first-year graduate student from Quincy studying plant and soil sciences, said the annex is actually convenient for him because he can stop by it on his way home, but he would like to have access to the entire library.

“I’ve only ever seen the first floor and the basement, so I don’t even know what it would be like to have the whole thing,” Azotea said.

Brandy Oxford can be reached at 536-3311 ext. 255 or [email protected]

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