April 3 is the official day for the grand reopening of Boreham Library at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith.
The 1 p.m. ceremony on the steps of the Learning and Research Center addition to Boreham Library is just the beginning, according to Dr. Paul Beran, UAFS chancellor.
“Boreham Library is now a signature facility on the UAFS campus with the addition of the new Learning and Research Center,” Beran said in a statement. “Students will be better served with 21st century learning and study environments and with increased opportunity for traditional and online research. Beyond that, this new expansion will be a resource and support for this region’s economic development.”
The $14.2 million project was funded with a $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, $2 million in federal stimulus money from Gov. Mike Beebe’s office and $776,000 from then Sen. Denny Altes, R-Fort Smith, through the General Improvement fund, as well as funds generated through a bond sale and a new student library fee.
The 40,000-square-foot library addition means an increase in several categories – space for 93% more non-fiction, 120% more fiction, 26% more reference, 53% more audio visual and 33 % more periodicals materials.
Seating has also increased, with reader seating going from 283 to 338, computer seating from 86 to 214 and classroom seating from 12 to 264. Added seating for the lounge areas totals 104.
On entering the first floor of the addition, visitors will see the Dr. Ted and Betty Skokos Commons. The Learning and Research Center also houses, on the second floor, the Doug and Kathy Babb Student Professional Development Center, consisting of high-tech teleconferencing space, conference rooms, online research capability and interactive presentation venues.
Part of the project was a total renovation of the original Boreham Library space, which opened in 1987 with only four computers and three typewriters for students to use.
Beran said he hopes many in the community will join UAFS officials for the April 3 public ceremony, which will include a traditional ribbon cutting and words of acknowledgement, followed by tours of the building.
“The completed renovation and expansion of Boreham Library takes the campus to a new level in providing what is needed by students and by the community,” said Beran. “The entire region will benefit from what is to come.”
Robert Frizzell, director of library services, is excited about what Boreham Library now offers.
“The new building gives us the space we need to provide superior service to a regional state university,” said Frizzell. “The quality of the space is vastly improved -- welcoming, attractive, airy. And we are very excited about our new electronic discovery service. It will make searching for both electronic and paper library materials as simple as a Google search.”
The UAFS Foundation has also raised more than $1 million in private gifts, with several announced at the time of the groundbreaking in June 2011 and several others since that time. A private event will be held on the evening of April 3 to honor donors, according to Dr. Marta M. Loyd, vice chancellor for university advancement.
Architect for the addition and renovation has been MAHG Architecture of Fort Smith, with CDI Contractors of Little Rock as contractor.