March 8, 2001

ILR Continues Catherwood Library Construction Project

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Everyone’s got building fever. Amid the clamor of bulldozers and earthmovers on North Campus and Martha van Rensselaer, the School of Industrial and Labor Relations (ILR) is quietly proceeding with its first phase of renovations.

The east wing of the Catherwood Library in Ives Hall is currently under construction. The finished library will retain its original 43,000 square feet, but will hold many new and technologically advanced facilities.

“The project is moving along as expected,” said Allan Lentini, director of administrative operations, in ILR. “We are [soon] hoping to provide more service to Cornell students with the latest in access to library information.”

The library will have larger reading rooms and a new reference and reserve area. New classrooms with distance learning facilities will be installed, though the University has yet to purchase the technology.

“Distance learning centers are expanding at a tremendous rate [at institutions of higher learning],” said Lentini.

Two new computer laboratories will be open for students. The labs will be adjoined by a sliding door, one of the architectural particulars the rest of the library will have.

Plans for the Garden Avenue building include a glass enclosed walkway leading into the library to facilitate passage. Also, the courtyards between the buildings will be “infilled,” or enclosed, to create more office space.

Three stages of renovation have been planned for ILR. The first phase, remodeling the Catherwood Library, began in May 2000 and is scheduled for completion this fall.

“It is very important to keep on track,” said Gregg Travis, director of the statutory office for capital facilities. “We try to have the construction correspond to the academic calendar.”

Phase two entails a modernization of Ives Hall’s extension and research wing located along Garden Avenue. The project will extend through 2003. During this time, offices in this section will be relocated to the completed library where they will remain for the duration of the construction.

ILR is still searching for ways to fund phase three, actively seeking gifts and looking to the State University of New York Construction Fund for aid. In phase three, the school plans to revamp the Ives faculty building.

Most of the changes are interior, including an air conditioning and temperature regulation system connecting the Catherwood Library to the Ives Library Tower. The Ives center building will also get eight new conference rooms. And the fourth floor of the conference center will be converted from a storage attic to an executive conference room tiered for approximately 27 people.

“We want to provide a very nice conference center that can be used not only by folks on campus, but unions, corporations and firms who want to bring employees to campus to speak,” said Lentini.

The original supporting rafters will remain exposed in the conference room as a decorative feature. A new elevator, however, will be installed.

Though the new interior is the main attraction, the library’s exterior will soon sport new window frames and stonework around them.

“It will really be a state-of-the-art library,” said Lentini.

Archived article by Rachel Einschlag