Construction on the Willard Straight Hall facing entrance of the cocktail lounge that will open for first time since 1982 in May.

Jing Jiang / Sun Assistant Photography Editor

Construction on the Willard Straight Hall facing entrance of the cocktail lounge that will open for first time since 1982 in May.

April 24, 2019

Construction on Cocktail Lounge and Fine Arts Library to Conclude Before Fall Semester

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There are two seasons at Cornell — winter and construction. As the former gradually leaves Ithaca, the latter is also coming to a close for the Cocktail Lounge and the Fine Arts Library this summer.

Rand Hall, which is located in the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, has been under construction since fall 2017. The Cocktail Lounge in Uris Library, a beloved 24-hour study space, has also been closed for renovation since the start of this semester.

“Major construction activities in the interior, including the restrooms, study areas, and a small vending area, have been completed at this point,” said John Ladley, facilities and planning manager. “Furniture, finishes, and electronic equipment will be installed in the coming weeks.”

“The exterior work is still in progress and is weather dependent,” he continued.

Several changes are being made to maximize the views of Libe Slope. In the lower study area, a counter is installed around the curved windows that face the Slope, accompanied by counter-height seating and power outlets, according to Ladley.

“In the upper study area, two of the three original staircases in the center of the main room were converted to balconies,” Ladley said. “These balconies will have lounge seating that offers views toward the same slope-facing windows.”

Additionally, the lounge entrance that faces Willard Straight Hall will be open to the public for the first time since the opening of the Cocktail Lounge in 1982. The entrance has only been used as an emergency exit, according to Bonna Boettcher. Recently, the walkway between Willard Straight Hall and Uris Cocktail Lounge has been closed for this construction.

“The paveway … is being replaced and regraded to provide ADA accessibility for the newly opened entrance,” Ladley said. “We are also installing a snowmelt system, adding light poles, and changing the landscaping around the entrance to make it more welcoming.”

The new Cocktail Lounge will also include a mix of various lounge seating options, Ladley said. Three group study rooms are now fitted with tables that face wall-mounted monitors. The built-in furniture is also replaced with moveable seatings and power was added wherever possible.

Bonna Boettcher, director of Olin and Uris Libraries, expects the new Cocktail Lounge to be opened during senior week, which will give the graduating students a chance to experience the renovated lounge before leaving campus.

Rand Hall is currently under construction and will feature a renovated library in the fall.

Boris Tsang / Sun Photography Editor

Rand Hall is currently under construction and will feature a renovated library in the fall.

The construction for Mui Ho Fine Arts Library and the renovation of Rand Hall, which began in December 2017, should both be finished by June 15, 2019, said Frank Parish, director of facilities for the architecture college.

“Most of the rehabilitation work on the façade of Rand Hall has been completed while the final restoration is being undertaken on the north and east facades,” Parish said. “The book stacks have been installed and final mechanical and electrical work is being completed. Painting is being finished throughout.”

Because of the construction, the Fine Arts Library has been relocated to B56 Sibley Hall since July 31, 2017. Operation of the library will end on July 26 before moving to the permanent location in the fall.

From May 20 to Aug. 5, certain fine arts materials will not be available as they are gradually moved from their current location in the Library Annex to the Mui Ho Fine Arts Library, said Eric Acree, coordinator of Fine Arts and Music Libraries.

The library catalog will indicate what fine arts materials are unavailable and users will be directed to request these items through Borrow Direct or Interlibrary Loan, Acree told The Sun in an email.

“Books requested through [Borrow Direct] can take [from three up to] five days. Books requested through Interlibrary Loan can take up to 14 days,” Acree said.

People who currently have borrowed materials will not be required to return them unless the borrowed materials are due, according to Acree. Returned items can still be dropped at B56 Sibley Hall until July 2016, the last operating day. Beyond that, items can be returned at all libraries on campus.

An opening ceremony for the Mui Ho Fine Arts Library is expected to be held in the fall. More information will be shared in the upcoming months, according to Parish.

“The project is on schedule and we are looking forward to welcoming the public into the new facility this fall,” Parish said.