As part of Kennesaw State’s Founders Week festivities celebrating the University’s 50th anniversary, campus officials broke ground today on a $4.4 million renovation and expansion project that will provide a much-needed makeover for the historic Horace W. Sturgis Library, and expand space to enhance student learning, engagement and academic success.
The project, which will encompass architectural design and construction to expand the current 104,000-square-foot facility by 1,600 square feet, is expected to open in the spring of 2015.
“We are deeply appreciative of the strong support this project has received from the Board of Regents and the General Assembly, which provided the vital funding that is making this project a reality,” said Kennesaw State President Daniel S. Papp. “This renovation and expansion will enable us to meet the growing needs of our 25,000 students, and ensure that the library continues to serve us well in the future.”
For two months after the campus initially opened on Jan. 9, 1967, the library was temporarily housed in the physics lab in the old Science Building, which is now today’s Mathematics and Statistics Building. The original library, now known as the Pilcher Building, was completed on March 16, 1967.
The current facility opened in 1981, housing 94,000 volumes. It was designed to meet the informational needs of a campus with a student population of about 5,000. The building later was named for the University’s first president, Horace W. Sturgis, who died on Jan. 16, 1990 – the year in which the library was named in his honor. Sturgis was a strong supporter of the library and believed its existence was essential for Kennesaw State to become a four-year college.
“Dr. Sturgis loved the library and went there just about every day to walk around and see what was
going on,” said Thomas A. Scott, professor emeritus of history at Kennesaw State. “As a matter-of-fact, after he retired as President, he had his office in the library. The building itself was the largest on campus when it was first built, and it was located at the center of the original quad. It truly was the heart of the college in every sense of the word.”
Plans for the project include repurposing the space on the ground floor and first floor of the library, upgrading the mechanical/electrical infrastructure, and updating the library’s furnishings to provide more learning and engagement spaces to enhance student success. The renovation also will allow the University to better preserve and more widely share its most distinguished books, documents and audiovisual material.
The renovation portion of the project will provide essential improvements to enable the faculty to better meet critical academic needs, improving functionality, while reducing operating costs and enhancing energy efficiency. A new main entrance on the building’s east side will improve accessibility.
“On behalf of our 55 employees and the tens of thousands of students and scholars who use the Sturgis Library each year, we welcome these long-awaited improvements,” said David Evans, dean and assistant vice president for Library Services. “Kennesaw State’s library, despite its vast archives, ranks well behind its peer institutions across the state when measured by student enrollment versus square footage. So this additional space definitely will be put to great use the minute this project is complete.”