Fenwick Library Gets Ready to Expand

Posted: October 12, 2012 at 10:40 am, Last Updated: October 24, 2012 at 11:12 am

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By Frances Womble

An artist’s rendering of what the expanded Fenwick Library will look like, viewed from the Quad.

Fenwick Library is celebrating its 45th anniversary this month, and the largest library in Mason’s libraries system is the subject of an expansion project that will provide 150,000 square feet of new space, doubling the total space of the existing building.

Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend two town hall meetings where more detailed information about the construction plans will be shared.  Audience concerns will also be addressed.  The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 2 p.m., and the second is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 22, at 9 a.m.  Both meetings will be held in the Johnson Center Cinema.

The project was authorized in July 2008, and a steering committee composed of students, faculty and staff was formed in April 2009.  Construction is scheduled to begin in late December and is expected to be completed in the summer or fall of 2015.  The library will remain open with minimal disruption throughout the construction period.

“The new space will allow the library to meet the growing needs of the Mason community for state-of-the-art study and research spaces, and for our expanding general and special collections,” says John Zenelis, university librarian.

A view of the south side of the building with the expansion.

When originally built, Fenwick Library was a white columned structure, which is now known as Wing A.  The two towers, Wings B and C, were added in 1974 and 1983, respectively.

“Over the decades, Fenwick’s appearance and size has changed, but its function of serving the university community as Mason’s main research library has been constant,” Zenelis says.

The planned addition will primarily be constructed on the south side of the existing library and will surround the library towers on two sides.  The new entrance to the building will face the center of campus.

After construction is completed, Fenwick Library will house:

  • A reading room, convertible into formal space for events
  • A research commons to support individual or collaborative projects
  • A special collections and archives department with a reading and research room in addition to exhibit spaces
  • A 24-hour study space and café
  • More study spaces
  • A designated research and study area for graduate students
  • More efficient shelving layouts
  • Space for the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence, the Mason Writing Center and Learning Support Services.

The construction designs adhere to LEED silver standards. Plans call for improved environmental systems, external shading devices, a naturally irrigated rain garden, a roof garden and preservation of trees at the south end of the building.

For updates and construction progress, see http://fenwickfocus.gmu.edu/.

Write to Robin Herron at rherron@gmu.edu

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