Visited the Richter Lately?
Moving into its later stages of development, the Richter Renovation Project has already completed several new areas now available to the public.
The first phase of the Richter’s $16 million face-lift included the construction of the Dauer Clock tower, which provided a new main interior stairwell for the library (to replace the older and more slender stairway).
Phase one also introduced a new, larger, staff elevator that would now reach the third floor (as opposed to the preceding elevator that could only access the second floor and mezzanine.)
While these recent additions to the library have modernized its former historic appearance, most students, especially during finals, were not impressed.
Student Patrick Dupree noted, “I have a watch on my wrist – there’s no need for a large clock to tell me what time it is.”
However, while the student body has endured much frustration, the Dauer Clock Tower, like much of the Richter’s refurbishing, once completed, will soon offer several benefits to everyone.
The Dauer Clock Tower, for example, widened the library’s existing stairway, as well as expanded energy efficiency while reducing energy costs through its new glass facade.
The new Richter Library has also made several accommodations for the physically impaired. Among these are a wheelchair ramp and easy-access electronic doors at the library’s entrance.
Coral Gables building codes did not require accommodations for the physically impaired. Now that these renovations are taking place, however, these problems plan to be solved.
The new Richter Library has also built several new study rooms for students to gather and work on group projects and sessions. This aspect of the renovation has already achieved popularity among the student body, considering that all of the rooms are almost always checked out.
“The study rooms let me plug in my laptop to the wall so my group and I can research and discuss all at the same time,” says Student Stephanie Halpin.
Also, with the lack of well-lit and quiet places around campus, these study rooms offer a quiet and non-interrupted environment for the easily distracted student.
Furthermore, The Richter Library, originally built in the 1960s, was never designed to accommodate its growing quantity of books and student body.
Library employee, Fiona Kelleghan said, “The renovated library will offer more seating areas for students, and more study areas, as well. The temporary walls will be removed and the current periodicals section will be much larger and more accessible.”
This means more space.
Believe it or not, the claustrophobic feel of the existing library will soon be over. Maintenance and construction is currently being done on the Air-Conditioning units as well as the electrical wiring, making it necessary for temporary walls to be put in place.
In addition to new furniture, the Richter Library also promises to expand its services.
“One thing that we’re all very excited about,” says Fiona Kelleghan, “is that we’re hiring new reference librarians which means more help for students on a one on one basis. Also, the Cuban heritage collection, when it’s open, will offer a greater variety and wealth of materials on Cuba and the Caribbean than any other library anywhere. That should be a huge benefit to students and departments ranging from international studies to foreign literature to Communication.”
Construction is scheduled to be completed by early 2003.