Library Addition Accommodates Evolving Research and Study Needs

Posted: November 8, 2013 at 5:02 am, Last Updated: November 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm

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By Preston Williams

rendering of library addition

A rendering of the main staircase in the new addition.

George Mason University students, faculty and staff soon will have a daily reminder of what the finished Fenwick Library on the Fairfax Campus will look like. Renderings of the completed project will be hung on the fencing around the construction site.

When the enlarged Fenwick is complete, the building will offer 2,400 study spaces, four times the amount there now. The addition, which wraps around three sides of the current building, is scheduled to be finished by the winter of 2015.

“Quadrupling the number of places where people can study is an incredible addition to the university,” says Thomas G. Calhoun, vice president of Facilities. “We’re meeting a lot of needs with this project from a student’s perspective.”

The glass wall on the south side of the building will all but brush up against the surrounding forested area, combining modern design with the site’s natural surroundings. Some of the trees displaced by the project have been transplanted. Calhoun says the university’s Office of Sustainability is working with student groups to identify grounds that could accommodate additional trees to further enhance the woodsy feel of campus.

With 157,000 additional square feet, doubling the size of what already was the university’s largest library, Fenwick will provide more collaborative studying and research space and also will offer a 24-hour study area. A redesigned and significantly expanded Special Collections and Archives area is part of the project.

The library remains open during construction.

“The new Fenwick’s innovative Research Commons will be designed to connect research expertise, scholarly resources and technology to support an evolving range of research methods,” says John G. Zenelis, university librarian.

The facility also will house parts of the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence, Division of Instructional Technology and the Writing Center.

“The university’s central library will foster a deepened culture of scholarship and creative activity among students throughout the university,” Zenelis says. “It will provide the crucial nexus of scholarly resources, subject expertise, expert technology tools and assistance, and learning and collaborative spaces in one modern and physically attractive location.”

reading room

A rendering of the Special Collections and Archives reference reading room.

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