Regenstein Reconfiguration Moves Forward

Regenstein Reconfiguration Moves Forward

Over the last three years the University Library has been engaged in an intensive review of the physical and programmatic needs of the Joseph Regenstein Library in order to ensure its continued strength as a model research library. In 1996 the Boston architectural firm of Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott (SBRA) was engaged to prepare a formal Architectural Study, in consultation with the Library and a faculty advisory group, with recommendations for the renovation and reconfiguration of the building. The central issues of collection storage, public service locations and functions, efficient staff utilization, and new electronic technologies were explored and an integrated plan was developed.

The Library submitted the Study to the University's Space Planning and Capital Budget Committee in October 1996, with a recommendation that the most immediate need was for additional collection storage. Fortunately, the Regenstein Library can accommodate an extensive installation of mobile aisle, compact shelving on its B-level. The compact shelving will extend the capacity of the building by up to 1. 3 million volumes. In addition, the Architectural Study recommended that a book stack mezzanine be added in the current fifth floor book stack area. This addition will provide storage for approximately 100,000 volumes. Overall the additional storage recommended represents approximately ten years additional collection growth at current rates of acquisition.

After extensive review the University authorized the Library to begin the detailed design of the collection storage component of the Reconfiguration Project during the current fiscal year. SBRA will continue as architectural consultants on the project and a Chicago architectural firm is being selected to undertake the design work and oversee the implementation. Funding for the construction of the compact storage and mezzanine and associated work on the buildings mechanical and electrical systems is anticipated in the 1998/99 fiscal year, with construction to commence soon after July 1, 1998.

The Library will also utilize the same planning and design team to complete work on the entrances and lobby of the Regenstein Library, which was previously funded by the Regenstein Foundation. This work will be the precursor to the reconfiguration of the entire first floor, with an emphasis on user services and electronic technology. The successful completion of the lobby renovation will be crucial to the ultimate organization of the first floor.

The entire first phase of the Regenstein Reconfiguration Project comprising compact collection storage, a book stack mezzanine, entrance and lobby renovations and all associated infrastructure has an estimated cost of between $9-11 million.

For more information, contact Tom Dorst, Regenstein Reconfiguration Project Manager, at 702-4772 or tjdorst@midway.uchicago.edu.

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