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By Gus Bode

Addition to Morris Library may include 24 hour space

$25 million released from state for renovations

Finding a vacant computer in Morris Library can be difficult because PCs and high student enrollment are two factors the designers overlooked when building the structure in the late 1950s.


But with the $25 million released from Gov. George Ryan Dec. 12, library officials plan to add a 50,000 square-foot addition and revitalize and reorganize every floor.

Susan Tulis, interim associate dean for Public Services, said the addition may be used for a computer lab and study space that will be open all day, every day.

“Ideally, we would like to have a space that could be open 24 hours a day with minimal service needs, and only one entrance where you can block off access to the rest of the library,” she said.

Before last summer, Morris was always open, but the library began closing at 2 a.m. to save money.

Jim Fox, building planning librarian, said the money will be used for the second step in a three-part plan to update the layout and features of Morris. Also known as the schematic design phase, the plans include replacing elevator cars, painting and upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning units.

“Everyone complains about the temperature,” Fox said. “This is the chance we have to repair the building.

“We want to be able to freshen up. If there is someone on the floor to help, they can be placed where the elevators open where it is easier to see them.”


Along with placing service desks in more visible places, Tulis said areas need to be labeled and existing signs need to be clear.

“Right now this building has really bad signage,” she said. “I don’t think it’s an easy building to get around in because we reorganized, but the building is still set up for the old organized structure.”

The first phase includes $1.9 million for compact shelving and architectural planning. If approved, the final phase will allot $2 million for movable equipment, furniture, and additional shelving.

The addition will begin before renovations and construction may begin before 2004, Tulis said.

And the $25 million should be a great help in meeting the goals, Fox said.

“I’m confident that the money will go far enough and we’ll have enough left over to make a significant difference on all the floors,” he said.

Reporter Lindsey J. Mastis can be reached at [email protected]