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The Antelope

Supply chain woes, prices slow down library renovation

In the original plans, the library’s front entrance consisted of open study spaces and a service desk.

The Calvin T. Ryan Library and Mitchell Center renovation plans are wrapping up, but now, project managers are adjusting the final product. Due to the pandemic’s aftermath, building material prices are rising and materials are more difficult to source.

UNK News announced the plans to modernize the library last summer. 

“It was always communicated as a longer-term plan,” said Greg Christen, project manager. 

Christen has been involved with the library renovation plans, since he was a UNK student in 2018. As a project manager, he spent the past couple of years collecting feedback from on-campus groups for the design.

The finalized plans have been recently adjusted. Since COVID-19, materials for the project have become difficult to source and more expensive to purchase. 

Christen is hopeful that the project will still meet its original goals, given that funding is sufficient. The project faces a 90% completion deadline with its initial renovations by June 2024.

Even Boyd, the Calvin T. Ryan Library dean, attends the project management and architecture meetings. 

“I am just excited to be a part of and helping to lead this project to its completion,” Boyd said. 

The major improvements will be completed within a two-phase plan. 

The first phase will work on the front entrance and top level of the building. The second phase will involve the rest of the building. 

A new heating and cooling system will be installed and the front entrance will receive a “face lift,” according to Christen.

“The ceiling will be replaced, and the lighting will be replaced, making this a much better environment to work in,” Boyd said.  

The dividing wall between the Mitchell Center and the library will be removed, and a lounge and study spaces will be added. The goal is to improve and build up the relationship and cooperation between the library and the Mitchell Center. 

“At this point we function as two buildings,” Boyd said. “The renovations will require us to start talking about what is possible.”

Over the January intersession, the Calvin T. Ryan Library collection will be moved for construction to begin, effectively shutting down that part of the building. 

During this time, the library will still offer its collection to students. 

Most of the books they intend to move will be of the least value to students’ academics, such as nursing books from 1850. With construction causing limited space, students will have to request library materials and pick it up from the staff rather than walking the shelves themselves. 

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