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Evansdale Library to be Renovated

Posted by Monte Maxwell.
September 30th, 2008

The Daily Athenaeum, September 30, 2008

By Ryan Hoffman

By the start of the Fall 2009 semester, the West Virginia University Evansdale Library will feature a brand new coffee house and other renovations.

“The whole idea is to reconfigure the first floor,” said Mary Strife, Evansdale Library director.

Although the numbers are not final, the renovation, including the cafe is expected to cost between $750,000 and $1 million, Strife said.

The money will come from the Office of the Provost and WVU Libraries, although the details are not yet final.

The spending plan must be finalized by June 30, 2009, the end of the fiscal year.

All monies must either be spent or designated to a specific area of spending; otherwise the funds will be lost.

“We are very excited about the renovations and hope that it is a very busy summer for us,” Strife said.

Bidding on the project is set to start in April.

The still unnamed coffee shop will be run by the Mountainlair, similar to the Downtown Library Complex’s coffee shop, Eliza’s.

“We could potentially have a name-the-cafe contest open to students in the next year,” Strife said.

The Evansdale cafe will look more like a Starbucks or a Barnes and Noble cafe rather than Eliza’s.

It will have large leather chairs, will use lighter wood colors to give it a contemporary feel and feature an outdoor patio near the front doors of the building.

“We want to make it a place where students want to hang out, get a cup of coffee before class or meet with professors,” said Shelley Johnson, interior design manager for WVU.

She added that the Evansdale Library is not used as much as it could be because of its out-of-date look.

The new first floor layout aims to give the library a more open feel by adding new carpet, fresh paint, larger study spaces, a new front desk and furniture on wheels for easy mobility.

The new tables and chairs will make it possible for students to work in groups without the hassle of moving heavy furniture.

“We have had conferences where people have talked about flexible work areas, so we figured if we are going to redo that carpet we might as well reconfigure the space,” Strife said.

The project is still in the planning phase and all the materials still need to be ordered.

There is still time for student input.

Strife is looking for students to participate in focus groups to voice their opinions on the renovations.

The groups are scheduled to meet next week, and on Monday and Tuesday undergraduate focus groups will meet at 6 each night.

A focus group for graduate students will meet Wednesday at 6 p.m.

“We are looking for students who use the Evansdale library to participate in the groups,” Strife said.

To participate in a focus group, contact Mary Strife at

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