Light at the End of the Tunnel of Death

By Gus Bode

The unattractive and bare passageway around the library is one step closer to coming down.

Despite floods and collapses during construction, the third, fourth and fifth floors of Morris Library should be open to students this spring, according to Dean of Library Affairs David Carlson.

Carlson, who has overseen the $62 million renovation project since its start in January 2006, said construction is ahead of schedule.


“We can finally see the light at the end of the ‘tunnel of death,'” Carlson said. “With the exception of floors six and seven, we will be done with the renovation in July of ’08.”

Staff members are prepared to take ownership of the fourth and fifth floors on Oct. 11, with the third floor bringing up the rear. Once staffers move in, they will prepare the floors for the spring opening to students.

Unfortunately, for those anxiously anticipating study areas on the lower levels, a new writing center and the addition of a coffee commons will have to wait. The aforementioned projects aren’t slated for completion until July.

Student Center Administrative Director Lori Stettler said she is preparing to submit a request proposing a new dining contract for the University. The new contract would be for Student Center dining as well as a coffee commons that would be included in the renovations.

The request will ask companies – which Stettler said would likely include Chartwells, Aramark and Sodexho – to bid on a contract with University dining. A committee of faculty, staff and students will make the final decision.

“They will submit designs and different ways that it could be set up,” Stettler said. “When we get all of those in, we will sit down and look over the contract as a whole and look specifically at the coffee commons and make a decision on what meets students’ needs.”

She said the goal is to get a Starbucks-like facility with coffee and some small food options. The library staff will participate in this part of the negotiations to ensure that everyone’s needs are met, Stettler said.


Students living in University Housing will not have to worry about their dining plan changing as a result of the new contract because housing’s dining is on an entirely different contract.

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